Hello again! Can you believe it has been almost two years since we won the EuroCup title against Valencia? Back then, we also faced Valencia in the Top 16, just like this season. We lost both Top 16 games, but won the games that mattered most. Let's see how this year goes, but for now, I have a flashback from two years ago and it brings back good memories. What I mostly remember is an amazing excitement. We were down by a lot of points and all the Valencia fans were already celebrating the title. It was nice to win on their court and shut down the crowd a little bit. It was really amazing. When you win, you want to win again and that inspires you to try to be a EuroCup champion again. Of course, it is really, really difficult with so many good teams this season, but we are really strong when we play together and some of us have the experience of winning the competition. We just need to move forward; we showed two years ago that even if you are not playing your best basketball in the Top 16, you still can turn things around in the quarterfinals, the semifinals and even in the finals. You can be really good later, so we just need to advance and face the next challenge as it comes.
"We are really strong when we play together and some of us have the experience of winning the competition."
We are about to play Limoges for the second time in one week – the second leg of the back-to-back showdowns in the EuroCup Top 16. It is a very dangerous game; we won the first game and for sure, they want to prove to us on their court that they are better. It is going to be my first game in Limoges's court, Beaublanc. I have never been there. Actually, I think that the first game against Limoges last week was my first one ever against a French team. It was a new experience for me and I cannot wait to get there and see the atmosphere on French courts. I have seen many different courts in many different countries and I can't wait to experience this. It is a really important game for them and they have a really good, really athletic team. It is going to be a hard game against them because they will give 100% because if they lose, they are out. We need to win; if we do and Valencia beats Zvezda, we will be really close to making it to the playoffs. We have to be very focused. Again, if they lose, they are basically out, so the pressure is on them. At the same time, we need that win to be closer to the quarterfinals.
The atmosphere at Martin Carpena in the game against Limoges was amazing. For sure, it will be crazy out there in Beaublanc. The further you go in the competition, the more people are at the games cheering and screaming. The atmosphere in EuroLeague games was great, but it can also be extremely loud and awesome in the EuroCup.
Our fans are always with us and I would like to take the opportunity to talk about a special group of them which is called Curva Chufla. They make almost every game a big cake called palmera de chocolate dedicated to someone in the team. I remember that in Game 2 of the 2017 EuroCup Finals, that giant cake was dedicated to EuroLeague president Jordi Bertomeu. :)
"Unicaja fans have a lot of basketball knowledge and have been following the team for a long time."
Curva Chufla are really active on Twitter, I have noticed that. They tag us in their tweets and we see it, for sure. It is always good to have a group of fans that will support you whatever happens. If we win, they celebrate with us and if we don't, they cheer us up. Unicaja fans have a lot of basketball knowledge and have been following the team for a long time. It is really good to be supported by them. When they made the palmera de chocolate with my face in it, I smiled and felt really happy. It wasn't my best moment of the season at that time and I was happy that the fans were still with me. It was an extra motivation for me to do better and it worked! A couple of games later, I was playing much better. It was a matter of confidence and belief.
They have a sense of humor and go to our basketball games to have fun. I love it, and I think it is very important to have fun. If they have fun in the stands, we will probably have fun on the court, play good basketball and make them happy. It is like we feed off each other; they help us with their support and we help them by playing well and winning games.
We are almost ready for Round 4 of the Top 16. There is no way back. Keep your fingers crossed for us, Unicaja fans. Let's fight to once again be one of the top teams in Europe. See you on the court!