TORONTO (FIBA AfroBasket 2017) - Angola's Yanick Moreira may have sat out last summer's FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) but he remains very much committed to his national team.
As the former African champions looked to secure a place at the Rio Olympics via the Belgrade OQT, the Raptors 905 big man was nowhere to be seen.
In the process, Angola lost all their two games against hosts Serbia and Puerto Rico and missed out the Olympics for the second straight time.
But the excitement of playing for his country again couldn't have come at the right time and the right place.
Angola will be the host nation of this year's FIBA AfroBasket from August 19-30.
"I am always available to represent my national team," the 25-year-old told FIBA.com.
"I have missed the OQT because of its date. But because this year's African championship will happen in the summer, I will be available to help my national team."
Angola will organise FIBA Africa's flagship event for the fourth time, and Moreira, who has never featured for his national team on home soil, feels it as a special moment in his career.
"Playing the African championship at home is highly significant for us. I will be able to spend more time with my family, but it brings some sort of pressure to us, players.
"There will be no excuses for failures because we'll have the support of Angolan fans throughout the tournament. It's up to us to improve from the last African championship."
Two years ago, Angola finished runners after losing to Nigeria in the final.
"The 2015 African championship was tough for us. Some games didn't work out the way we hoped for. I am sure we'll play a lot better this year.
"Some of my colleagues may have already forgotten those defeats against Senegal and Nigeria, but I haven't. I still believe that we could have won those games. Against Nigeria, for instance, we could have opened a 10-point lead in the opening quarter, but we played too individually.
"We must play as a team to win games because some teams continue bringing some high-class players," he noted.
Angola have won three of their eleven African titles as hosts of the tournament. Asked whether reigning champions Nigeria and Senegal - two teams who defeated Angola in Tunisia two years ago - were their biggest threats, Moreira replied.
Angola have been experiencing a transitional process of players in recent years, and while half of the team that featured at last summer's OQT were 30 or older, a number of newcomers begin to build their names for themselves.
Moreira supports the transitional process too.
"The more chances we give to younger players, the better the Angolan national team will become in future. Of course, we want to win this year's tournament, but we must think about the future of the team."
Fifteen national teams are qualified for the FIBA AfroBasket 2017. These teams are Nigeria, Angola, Tunisia, Morocco, Mali, Senegal, Cote d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Egypt, Uganda, Guinea, Rwanda, Mozambique and South Africa.
FIBA Africa are to decide on the ways to attribute the last ticket to complete the 16-team FIBA AfroBasket 2017 line-up.