Zouros, Katsikaris and the... rest

zouros_bilbao Panellinios will battle on Saturday in the Eurocup Final-Four. In the semifinal in Vitoria the "Olympians" will face Valencia of Neven Spahja, while in the other game Fotis Katsikaris and Bilbao will play against Alba Berlin.

Elias Zouros: "First of all we are very satisfied of being her and taking part in these Eurocup Finals. For us, it's something new but we have experienced players. Our players are fighters and from the very first game we will try to show everybody that we deserve to be here. Of course in Greece the fans are feeling great about this, it's normal. As you know in Greece basketball is big and we have to try to do our best not only for ourselves but for Greek basketball also. Valencia is a very good, strong team with a great coach. They are a team that was built to be in the Eurocup Finals and to be in the Euroleague next. For us this is something different. We have nothing to lose and we believe in ourselves. When you get into a final series like this with four teams, you always have options to do something big."

Neven Spahia: "We are going to Vitoria with the youngest team, but also with the best record until this moment, even when that doesn't guarantee anything. It says good things about us but doesn't guarantee much. We know what we have to do in Vitoria - fight and be strong from the very beginning against a good team like Panellinios. They play a different brand of basketball, with more experienced players. They like to play five-on-five offense and control the game. We will have to do our best, making the most our of our talent and physical skills, and playing at the same level we have been. I would admit that we would be the favourites if this was a long series, but you cannot talk about that in a one-game situation. We work hard to experience moments like this. We are not afraid of anyone but respect all of our opponents"

Luca Pavisevic: "We are, of course, all excited that we made, let's say, this journey through the season. We went through two very strong Eurocup groups. We also passed very competitive quarterfinals against Hapoel Jerusalem, and now we have to present ourselves in these Finals of a strong European basketball competition. It is true that Bilbao Basket has, in my opinion, certain leverage against Alba: they play very close to their city and I understand that a lot of their crowd will be in the game. Apart from this kind of homecourt advantage, we are being plagued by several injuries that are putting us into a lot of trouble right now. And no matter when or where, and no matter what injuries we could have, Bilbao is a quality team that is always hard to face. They are a strong unit that has improved throughout the season by bringing Axel Hervelle and coach Fotis Katsikaris, who put his stamp on the team. Bilbao is ready to arrack the top of the Spanish League and this Eurocup. I think Alba has a very difficult challenge in front, but despite the situation, I will try to find the way to win this semifinal and somehow try to break their momentum and earn our passage into the final." 

Fotis Katsikaris: "We must only focus on the game against Alba Berlin, because for now, it's the only one we have guaranteed. It's the only way to reach the Final. The key of the game will be finding the way to open their defense, be patient in offense and also defend harder than them. We have to be patient until we find the way to break the game in our favor. I really don't mind about the scoring. This season we have won low-scoring and high-scoring games. We showed we are capable of controlling a game in any situation and they are not so used to play to a higher score. Controlling the tempo of the game is vital. Julius Jenkins is their referent in offense, he generates a lot of scoring situations. I think their backcourt is more dangerous than their frontcourt even though their big men play a pivotal role in their system setting good screens. I hope we will file like playing at home. The 'Black Tide' will have at least 3,000 fans and that will help us a lot. Especially when we go through rough times."

e-genius.gr ...intelligent web software