This is unbelievable. More than a week has passed and I still can't stop thinking about it. Our situation was as if we had played in the playoffs in a normal league, like in the Spanish League, and we won the championship from the seventh or eighth spot! And we did it without home-court advantage the whole time. And to be the EuroCup champion makes it taste even better.
Looking back, I think it’s fair to say that Game 3 wasn’t the best game for either side. All three games in the series were low-scoring games. When we were down early in the fourth quarter, nobody knew what was coming. We scored 40 something points until that point and then in seven minutes we scored 20! It was an amazing comeback We started making three-point shots and Valencia didn’t.
Many people were thinking about winning the championship from the very beginning, after we beat Bayern Munich. We visualized what it would be like to win and that helped. Some players might have thought, down 13 with seven minutes left, that it’s over. But we believed. We fought until the end. Like out hashtag on social media before the game said: #MalagaNoSeRinde (Malaga does not give up).
After the game, I felt amazing. I didn’t know what to do! I was still holding my head. We beat Valencia on the road? How did it happen?! I was hugging all the players. My family was at the game and I was looking to give hugs to my wife and kids. The trophy is heavy, but it was amazing to hold it with the confetti everywhere, people taking photos and everyone so happy. It was a special moment. I think I didn’t know what was happening because I was in shock, but it was amazing.
When we arrived home at the airport in Malaga with the trophy around 4 a.m., there were fans waiting to celebrate with us. They had been waiting for hours! They sang songs with us for more than 30 minutes. It was completely crazy. It was like it was 4 in the afternoon, not 4 in the morning. We knew that many fans were going to watch Game 3 on a big screen at our gym, Martin Carpena. A lot of people were living on the final and I am so happy that we were able to deliver this championship to them.
At the airport, Alen Omic was waving this giant flag. He was hot like always in the celebrations! Last season with Gran Canaria he lost in the EuroCup Semifinals to Galatasaray, so for sure he wanted to show himself from a better angle and win the title. Every time we won a series and advanced, Alen was really, really happy and satisfied. He began the season at Efes in Turkey and didn’t get the minutes, so he really wanted to show his best basketball. Unfortunately Dejan Musli was injured, but Alen got more minutes because of that and was able to help the team.
The reception at city hall was also crazy! Two days of celebrating was hard! It was amazing. We went on an open bus through the streets and everyone was honking and congratulating us. And people were on the balconies celebrating with us. Everyone was happy and shocked. It was an amazing thing winning the EuroCup; Unicaja has not won too many titles in its history. This year was the 40th year of the club and this made it a special season for everybody.
Coach Plaza was amazingly happy. This was his third title and the second time that he won the EuroCup. It was a hard year for all of us and he needs to be happy, like every one of us. He did a great job together with the coaching staff to develop our games from the beginning of the season. I think we are still growing as a team. We really respect what they do.
Another great thing is that next season Unicaja will be back in the EuroLeague! I am under contract for next season. My dream was always to play in the EuroLeague and to play for a very good team in Spain and now this dream is coming true! I am really happy for the team. We will see how many people from this squad will be back next season, but I am really proud of what we have done. The EuroLeague next season will be exciting. So many great games against great teams, especially with the new EuroLeague formula. We will play everybody, 30 games against the best teams. It’s going to be an amazing year. I am really looking forward to it.
I am really proud to have been a part of this. I can’t even describe it in words. Winning the EuroCup cannot really compare to winning any championship of any country. We beat almost everybody in Europe, except for the EuroLeague of course. We got the medals and stood on the podium with the trophy; I will remember that for the rest of my life!