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Bo MCCALEBB (F.Y.R. of Macedonia) second round of EuroBasket 2011

VILNIUS (EuroBasket 2011) - Bo McCalebb had a very tough time making it to the changing room after firing F.Y.R. of Macedonia to a 65-63 victory over Georgia.

The explosive point guard of Montepaschi Siena torched Georgia for 27 points and scored, just as he had for most the game, on a drive to the basket just before the final buzzer to give his team a win that assured the team of a place in the Quarter-Finals.

He is, without question, the most important naturalized player at the EuroBasket because without McCalebb, the Macedonians would not be sitting pretty in the last eight with two games still to play in the Second Round and thinking about podium finishes and possible appearances at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

"I never imagined that something like this could be happening," said McCalebb, who has played at the last two Euroleague Final Fours, to FIBA.com.

He was with Partizan Belgrade in 2010 when they played in Paris and with Montepaschi Siena this year with Montepaschi Siena.

"I knew we had a good team and I knew that no one would respect us," the 26-year-old guard said.

"Everybody has been playing with a chip on his shoulder, everybody is playing free and playing with no pressure.

"That's how we're playing so well right now."

In Group C, the Macedonians were able to buy a lot of tickets and support the team in Alytus.

The fans like to unfurl a giant flag in the stands.

Not surprisingly, everyone is going nuts.

"I know they're excited because this is maybe the first time in the history of F.Y.R of Macedonia they've been doing this well," McCalebb said.

One thing McCalebb claims is that he's not thinking about the possible implications.

If Macedonia go on to win their Quarter-Final game, or finish in the top six, they will be invited to the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

"We have to take one game at a time," he said.

"We can't think about that now. We have to rest and come back and be ready for the next game."

One way to make McCalebb happy is to mention his name in the same breath with France basketball icon Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs.

McCalebb was so fast when dribbling the ball up the floor and exploding to the basket against Georgia that he seemed to have the sort of pace the lightning-quick Parker possesses.

Could he actually beat Parker in a race?

McCalebb thought about it, smiled and said: "We'd have to rest and see."


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