Turkish Airlines Euroleague
May 23, 2013
Eurocup Finals: Official press conference
The first official event of the Eurocup Finals took place on Friday at Khimki Arena in Moscow Region, Russia, as representatives of all four teams, the local organizers and sponsors, as well as TV partner Eurosport met with the media. The press conference launched a weekend of basketball fever in Khimki that will culminate on Sunday with the crowning of the 2011-12 Eurocup champion. Here are the comments of the press conference participants.
Mr. Alexey Bodunkov, Vice-Chairman of Moscow Region Council and President of BC Khimki Moscow Region
"It is an honor to start today's press conference and welcome all our guests and participants in the Eurocup Finals to Moscow Region and Khimki, a city with a long-lasting basketball tradition. For us, it's a big honor to host this tournament. I'd like to thank Euroleague Basketball for giving us the opportunity to host this tournament. We have been actively working together for five months with their specialists and our own to make our facilities ready, and a lot of improvements have allowed us to reach a good new level for this weekend. I would like to thank our general sponsor, Promsvyazbank, which has been cooperating for us for many years. Their involvement with this tournament is serious and we expect to cooperate more with them in the future. The level of this tournament is very high. We have brilliant teams together here and I am sure the games will be interesting. I welcome you all again and wish everyone good luck."
Mr. Jordi Bertomeu, President & CEO, Euroleague Basketball
"Good afternoon. First, thank you for being with us here today at this press conference. We are all excited for this final stage of our competition, our Eurocup, after a very tough season for all our clubs. All of them showed again that this is a very high level of basketball. For that reason, it's time to congratulate Valencia Basket, Spartak St. Petersburg, Lietuvos Rytas and Khimki Moscow Region for achieving what they all wanted to achieve at the beginning of this season. They had to fight to get here to compete for the trophy and for a spot in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague next season. This is a very special season for us here at the finish because it's the tenth year of the Eurocup, and that means many things. It means that we have played more than 1,800 games over those 10 years. We had 124 different clubs and almost 3,000 players participate in this competition. Those are quite impressive figures, and on top of that, many people have enjoyed the best of European competition during these 10 years. I want to congratulate everyone involved in the growth of this competition. When we talk about the growth of the Eurocup, we have to talk about Eurosport, which has played a very important role to help us make this competition better and better. Eurosport brings 47 countries and almost 60 million people listening in 18 languages to the Eurocup. We need to express our gratitude for their work and continued support, and we hope together in the future to make the Eurocup even better. I also want to express our gratitude to our sponsors: Turkish Airlines, bwin and Nike, and a special thanks to Promsvyazbank for its support as our presenting sponsor for the Eurocup Finals. And it is only fair to give special thanks to BC Khimki Moscow Region, our host club, to its president, general director and staff. All have been working hard and done a terrific job to make these finals possible. I am sure that together we will offer our fans the high-class event we all have been expecting. Good like to our clubs. I hope everyone enjoys a very nice weekend of basketball."
Mr. Victor Bychkov, BC Khimki Moscow Region General Director
"I would like to thank Euroleague Basketball once again for giving us the opportunity to host this final tournament, because this is a very serious event for Moscow Region and for the whole of Russian basketball. This is the second tournament for men's clubs at this level that Russia hosts in its recent history and the first Eurocup Finals held in our country. We are all working to do a great job on this event. The clubs that are here worked to be the strongest this season and one of them will end up to be the best in the competition. All are strong and serious competitors. In our opinion, the Eurocup competitive level this season has been very high. This fact reflects a great job by many people: teams, clubs, and here, representatives from various organizations in Khimki that did their best to make the best of this Eurocup. We expect and hope that all the great job done so far is going to be realized now with a well-organized cup competition with these very strong teams. Thank you, and I hope we will make it."
Mr. Arnaud Larroque, Eurosport 2 Executive Producer
"Hello everyone. For us, this is a great partnership for seven years now with Eurocup. Again, Eurosport this weekend will put on a special operation and have special coverage of the event. All the matches will be live with 10 cameras, a full HD product and an on-court studio where we will have exclusive interviews with the players and coaches. Our special guests in the studio on Sunday for the final will be Jordi Bertomeu and Andrei Kirilenko. We will have two ENG crews following the teams 20 hours a day to make special reports. We will have exclusive interviews on court with the players, talking to them about how they prepare for the event, the pressure that comes with it, and the keys to the games. Most important for us, we will have some behind-the-scenes, backstage coverage, following the teams to try to give access to our viewers about how they prepare for the games and get their team's spirit ready for success. For us, this massive coverage is a sign of the sure commitment of Eurosport for basketball and the world of sport in general. And with this kind of coverage, I am sure we'll improve the way Eurocup is seen across Europe and the world. I am sure it will be a terrific weekend of basketball, and with Khimki in the tournament, that we'll have a special atmosphere in the arena."
Ms. Evgenya Lenskaya, Marketing Director of Promsvyazbank
"Our bank has always cared deeply about the destiny of Russian sports. That's why we are happy again to be supporting our long-lasting partnership in this very important event. Thank you."
Mr. Velimir Perasovic, Valencia Basket
"Good afternoon. First, I want to say that all the teams here deserve to be here and have lots of quality. Our opponent, Lietuvos Rytas, is very clearly a Euroleague-level team, with lots of potential and talent. We all have the highest ambition in the world. We want to win this trophy and play in the Euroleague. In this sense, I think that all the games we are going to see here are going to be tough and intense, with a winner who deserves it. And I think that our team has enough quality, mentally and physically, to win the tournament as we wish."
Mr. Rafa Martinez, Valencia Basket
"It's clear that winning before gives you experience this time. There are five of us on Valencia who won the Eurocup two years ago. But this is a different season, a different story. The competition level is very high, as always. And we hope to play at the level we need to succeed again."
Mr. Aleksandar Dzikic, Lietuvos Rytas
"Thank you all. The Eurocup competition is something that you in the media all do, it's why you are here, and you are a big part of what we are doing in this event. As you know, our seasons started in the Euroleague Qualifying Rounds at home. We failed in the final, and now, weeks before the season ends, we are still in the hunt for the Euroleague and the right to play with the best of the best. In order to do that, we have to win this tournament. For us, being here is a big success. If we want to be honest, the other teams here have great organizations, great coaches, and lots of good players. I am coaching a group of hard-nosed, persistent, disciplined guys. We are here to represent the Lietuvos Rytas way of managing basketball, meaning that we still have to be competitive even if we can't afford what other teams have. Still, we are here, not accepting the underdog role, and ready to play against Valencia. You know better than me that Valencia's team is packed with talent, has a very good and successful coach, and is a very ambitious organization. We are expecting a tough, tough game. Thanks."
Mr. Renaldas Seibutis, Lietuvos Rytas
"Hello. First of all, as you said, this is my the third Eurocup semifinal, personally, for me, and it's really important and exciting for me to be here. To tell how much the good things or experience from before can help now, in the future, is difficult to say. My first year in the semis wasn't what we expected. We lost our game to Khimki. The next year, we were a little better and took third place in Vitoria. It was a good achievement for Bilbao's club, but not what we tried to reach. This year, I come to Moscow hoping that those two bad experiences turn into something good, and we find a way to be in the finals and reach the goal we all want."
Mr. Rimas Kurtinaitis, BC Khimki Moscow Region
"Good afternoon. What can I say about our team? Our season was very difficult from the first day. But we managed to break into the top four. And we will try now to be a very good host of the Eurocup Finals and to look to a future in which we have big goals. I'd like to congratulate all the clubs and coaches here. The teams that played the best basketball are all here. I wish all of them the best in representing their clubs and countries, and let the strongest one win."
"We're the home team, but it doesn't give us a big advantage because all the clubs are good. It's always easier to play at home, but there's a double responsibility. If we lose, it will be a failure. If we're successful, everyone will think the home team was supposed to win anyway. This is the wrong approach, and we will treat all our games very seriously. Before, I as a player in the Soviet Union era playing against Coach Perasovic as a player. Now, I am the only one from the Soviet age here fighting against three former Yugoslavia coaches. It's difficult for me, but all teams are equal and have equal chances. Valencia is a good team that recently won this cup, but it doesn't mean they will win. I know that Lietuvos Rytas is ambitious with a good coach. All the games will be difficult."
Mr. Vitaly Fridzon, BC Khimki Moscow Region
"I think that for us to be a part of this event at home is a big success and a big advantage. The fact that we reached the finals is a joy for everybody, and the fact that we play at home is an advantage. It's been nine years since I started playing on this team and we've had some big successes. This is our second time in the Eurocup Finals, and last time we missed the trophy by very little, 10 minutes, when Lietuvos Rytas beat us. Now, we have the coach they had then. As everyone mentioned, it's a great achievement to make the Eurocup Finals, both to make it and to host it. I wish big success to everyone. Here we will have strong clubs from Europe and from Russia, and may the strongest one win."
Mr. Jure Zdovc, Spartak St. Petersburg
"Good afternoon. First of all, I'd like to congratulate all the coaches and players who reached this tournament. Definitely, all four teams deserve to be here. If I am correct, we are here with three teams that played in the Euroleague last year, so maybe Spartak is the newcomer. But that doesn't mean we don't have high expectations. We play a very good Khimki team in the first game, and we play in their home arena. We know them and they know us, as we've played twice already this season. So there are no big secrets. What I promise is that we will give our maximum to do everything tomorrow and to play a good semifinal."
Mr. Yotam Halperin, Spartak St. Petersburg
"Good afternoon. I am sure that everybody is excited to be here. We've all worked very hard to be in this exciting tournament. Congratulations to all the teams participating. I am pretty sure both of our teams, Spartak and Khimki, know each other well after playing many games over the years and this season. The last two games between us were decided late, one in double overtime, the other by a basket or two, so I am sure that tomorrow's semifinal will be interesting as well. Hopefully, it will be a great basketball weekend. As my coach said before, Spartak is playing here with three Euroleague teams, basically, so I am sure we will see high-quality basketball. Best wishes to everyone, and enjoy."
Friday, April 13, 2012
Eurocup Finals Schedule
Saturday, April 14
Valencia Basket 80-70 Lietuvos Rytas
BC Khimki 77-73 Spartak SPB
Sunday, April 15, 13:30 CET
Lietuvos Rytas 71-62 Spartak SPB
Sunday, April 15, 16:30 CET
BC Khimki 77-68 Valencia Basket
Final: BC Khimki vs. Valencia Basket
Third Place: Lietuvos Rytas vs. Spartak SPB
Semifinal: BC Khimki vs. Spartak SPB
Semifinal: Valencia Basket vs. Lietuvos Rytas
Offcial Semifinal Practices
Offcial Press Conference