It all comes down to Game 3! We went to ASVEL's place for Game 1 and it was a tough loss because we could have won on their court, but we didn't. We knew we had to come home and get the win, and that's exactly what we did. It is a three-game series, and after losing Game 1, we responded well. We know that they will come with everything they have in Game 3 and we have to match their intensity. In Game 2, we were at our best. We were able to run. When we are able to play defense and run like that, I that that there is nobody we have played that can stop us. Everybody is touching the ball and getting good shots. I think we are one of the best offensive teams when we are playing like that.
Game 3 will be everything, and ASVEL has the home-court advantage. We understand that, but we want to be on top, whether we win by one or by 30. We have to come in as hungry dogs to win it, because they are really, really good at home. There are no X's and O's now. It is not about plays or who hits the most shots, it is going to be about who does the little things. When we played there, they got a lot more loose balls than we did; and when they came here, we were pressuring them a lot more and swung the ball a lot better. Whoever is going to win, it will be the team that does the little things and is more hungry. Our fans helped us a lot in Game 2; it was the best atmosphere of the season. When we have the big games, our fans come out and cheer loud, and we love it when our fans do that!
"I love playoffs, because the competition rises."
Did you see our promo video on Twitter, before the start of the series? It is called "The Weatherman" and it is all Gabi's idea! Gabi is our press officer and community manager. He handles all media stuff for us and does a great job. He asked me to do it and knows that I like to act a little bit, so he had the idea to do 'The Weatherman'. I went out there and there was no script; he gave me the guidelines and told me to be myself, and that's what I did! I had fun doing it and it worked out very well. Everybody always says that I look for the camera but I think it is just my personality. I am always comfortable in front of the camera: I like to smile, make jokes, so if I do something like that, it is natural to me. Let's hope there is a storm in Lyon and we can make it to the semifinals! It would be great, especially compared to how MoraBanc did last year. Making it to the semifinals would mean something to everybody. And if we make it to the semifinals, we will probably do another video, "The Weatherman" or something else. But we have to get that game first. If we stay focused, we have a good chance to go through.
I am about to become a first-time father, too, so I am very excited. She is ready and big. Amaya Rose Ennis is going to be our first daughter and we are very excited about it. It is a pretty unique baby already. I am Canadian, my wife is Australian, and she will be born here in Andorra. We talk about it all the time; she is going to go to school and everybody will ask about her storyline: Canadian father, Australian mother, born in Andorra, and she is probably going to be travelling all around Europe for my career. She is going to have a very interesting background! We are just hoping she is healthy, but everything is going good and in a few weeks, we will welcome here to the world.
Back to the EuroCup! Three series out of four are going to Game 3; only Valencia has qualified to the semifinals. I kind of expected that. It is the playoffs -- and anything can happen. A team that loses at home can go on the road and win the next game. I love the playoffs, because the competition rises. When it is a do-or-die game, the best comes out of people and I think we are going to see that throughout all the games on Wednesday. Like I said before, Melvin Ejim and I are friends. We texted each other, wishing each other good luck. He has been through it already and gives me little pieces of advice here and there. I love to watch the Canadians and see how they blossom. We started playing against each other when we were 13 years old, and also played on the same team for a year or two. I have known him since elementary school. He has been a really close friend and him being in Europe before me, he gave a lot of tips on different things that worked out. If UNICS and Andorra make it to the finals, it will be crazy, a dream come true!
"From the jump, we have to set the tone."
It is hard to predict the other two series, really. UNICS and Loko are set for a tough battle. I have watched Loko but didn't have the chance to play against them this year. UNICS is really tough all around. They have many veterans, which could make the difference. I love Unicaja and hope that they pull it out, but ALBA is also really tough and I think that game will come down to the wire. As for us, from the jump, we have to set the tone. If we go there and they set the tone early, they can control the game -- and they have their fans around them. They beat us there already, so we have to set the tone from the jump ball until the end of the game. We have to play 40 minutes on Wednesday or we will be in trouble. Our biggest concern when we watched tape is how physical ASVEL is. Growing up, I learned this lesson: bullies will be bullies until you hit back. Our method is to hit them first, before they hit us. A physical team tends to not like physicality applied towards them. That's what we are doing. We are not the most physical team now, but we are not scared and will play our game.
We lost David Walker and Oliver Stevic during this series due to injury, and I hope we can dedicate them a win on Wednesday. And those are two exceptional players. David Walker was a starter and has been here for a few years, has experience, is athletic and does everything. Oliver is our leader, is also experienced, and losing him is really tough. It isn't always about what you put on in the stats sheet. Oliver does so much of the little things and we are going to miss that, especially in a playoffs game. We hope we can win for both of them, and for our fans! We are going to give our all. We wish we could have had Game 3 at home so that they could have cheered for us. I just hope they will do that from their houses, and that we can get the win so that we can play some more EuroCup games here.
No fear! Mai Por!