SHOW GOES ON, SAYS ACHARA

Kieron Achara insists off-court distractions can’t derail Great Britain’s World Cup qualifying hopes when they face Israel today.

Caretaker coach Alberto Lorenzo will take charge in Tel Aviv after Tony Garbelotto’s shock departure as GB try to land a first win of the campaign.

And the build-up has also been overshadowed by the cash crisis facing British Basketball amid warnings during a Westminster debate on Tuesday that a lack of funds could see the side shut down before June’s scheduled fixtures against Estonia and the Israelis in Glasgow.

But Achara insists that, with so much at stake, the show must go on.

“We all watched the Parliamentary debate – it was we very interesting take,” the GB captain said. “But the message I gave afterwards was that there is nothing we can do. We can’t worry about the past. All we can do is think about the here and now. We’re basketball players.

“And honestly, you wouldn’t even have known we’d had to change coaches. We’re essentially running the same stuff we ran before, nothing has changed – there’s just a few extra details now. We’re picking up on what we’ve done before which has made it an easy transition.”

Former Spain international centre Gabriel German has joined the GB coaching staff to aid Lorenzo in his debut on the sidelines.

That continuity of approach, Achara says, can help smooth the path in what is a must-win game.

“We played Israel last year so we know their strengths: good on the ball, a lot of back door looks. We know we have to contain them defensively, lock in and try and attack them on the break.

“Even though we’re 0-2, there’s no pressure at all. We know we made mistakes in the first window but we can’t dwell on that. We know we’ve a lot more to give. There are a lot more games to play and we want the best basketball we can.

“We’ve not thought about the standings. The game plan and getting it right has been key. We know what we’re here to achieve. Alberto’s focus has been on us playing good basketball, not about winning or losing. But he believes if we do that, we will win.”

It’s the start of two games inside 54 four for GB who face Greece in Heraklion on Sunday – looking to avenge their OT loss to their rivals in Leicester in November.

Both contests will offer hostile, partisan crowds.

But Achara said: “I am definitely looking forward to these two. That’s the beauty of playing World Cup qualifiers: you get to play in environments which are fun to play in. As a professional, you want more of that.”

Watch Israel v GB live on MVP’s Facebook page (open to all) from 11.55am

Photo: Mansoor Ahmed

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