As the curtain falls down on another season, it has certainly been an intriguing Euroleague Final Four to say the least. CSKA Moscow emerged victorious by overcoming Fenerbahce in overtime, and they are probably nursing a serious hangover near ‘Pirates’, the fans’ designated bar, Lokomotiv Kuban concluding a great season by finishing third and away from the court the Fan Zone at the iconic Alexanderplatz was – once again – a roaring success.
But there were other notable goings on around Berlin this weekend, compiled in my notebook are just a few things documented from the celebratory weekend of Euroleague hoops.
OBRADOVIC CRITICISES REFEREES IN CSKA LOSS
Fenerbahce head coach Zeljko Obradovic once again fell to his former assistant at Panathinaikos, Dimitris Itoudis. Only this time, it was in the biggest game of all. But the legendary Obradovic went on the offensive in the post-championship game press conference.
The 56-year-old was naturally defiant and while he congratulated his close friend and CSKA Moscow coach Itoudis, Obradovic was adamant that Nando De Colo travelled in the final possession of regulation that led to a put back bucket from Victor Khryapa with 1.6 seconds left to force overtime.
Then, after Kostas Sloukas hit from deep … that was as good as it got for the Turkish side. The execution and confidence was shattered. And CSKA took advantage
Obradovic even went as far as to say that the Euroleague title was “stolen” from them.
“Someone stole our trophy,” he said. “Some believed that we didn’t deserved it. In the last play of regulation, De Colo traveled. All finished there. I couldn’t understand some calls and I do not want to talk about them. When you play in overtime of the final Euroleague and your opponent has 10 free throws and you have none you wonder ‘what were the criteria of the calls?’.
“We were very close and we deserved to win without the game going to overtime. I want to thank the fans of Fenerbahce. I hope that we will stay all together and we will also have a good season. Now we have to win the championship title in Turkey.”
FINAL FOUR 2017 VENUE UP IN THE AIR
Last year, Istanbul was reported to be hosting the 2017 Euroleague Final Four with talks ongoing about whether to choose the Sinan Erdem Dome or Ulker Arena for the showpiece event.
However, Euroleague officials confirmed on Saturday that Istanbul is no longer fixed for next year, and while the city is still considered favourites to host the event, those officials are holding back on properly confirming Istanbul due to safety concerns.
Taken from the UK Government travel advice guide:
Attacks could be indiscriminate and could affect places visited by foreigners. A number of terrorist groups are active in Turkey. During 2015 there was an increase in PKK (Kurdish separatist) terrorist activity in south-east Turkey. There have been a number of attacks by other groups including suicide attacks by Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL), and attacks by the far left DHKP(C) and Kurdish separatist TAK in cities including Ankara and Istanbul.
On 1 May 2016 a bomb attack at the Central Police Station in Gaziantep killed two police officers and injured 23 others.
On 27 April 2016, there was a suspected suicide bomb attack at Bursa Ulu Mosque. The bomber was killed and 7 people slightly injured.
There was a suicide bomb attack against tourists on Istiklal St in Istanbul on 19 March 2016, in which 4 tourists died and at least 36 people were injured.
On 13 March 2016 a bombing in Kizilay Square, central Ankara killed more than 30 people. There was an explosion near a military base in central Ankara on 17 February 2016. The Turkish authorities have confirmed that 28 people were killed and 61 injured.
On 12 January a suicide bomb attack in Sultanahmet in Istanbul killed 10 tourists.
Paris, Prague, Belgrade, Kaunas and Moscow are also among the cities interested in hosting next year’s Final Four with Euroleague CEO Jordi Bertomeu revealing the chosen venue in June.
JAKA BLAZIC: FIBA AND EUROLEAGUE SETTLE DIFFERENCES FOR BASKETBALL
Laboral Kutxa guard and Slovenian international Jaka Blazic has called for FIBA and Euroleague Basketball to settle their differences and do what’s best for basketball.
FIBA’s inaugural Basketball Champions League is due to begin in September with the sport’s governing body threatening to expel any nation to pledges its loyality to Euroleague Basketball and compete in the Eurocup.
Slovenia is one of those nations suspended by FIBA due to their involvement in the Eurocup.
“Basketball is a beautiful sport, and I know that both FIBA and Euroleague have their own interests and I hope that they are working for basketball and not each other’s egos, which unfortunately they seem to be doing,” said Blazic.
“I hope to be playing for Slovenia in all major competitions as I love playing for my country and Slovenia is a known basketball nation, so I hope FIBA doesn’t do the wrong thing and ban us because the Slovenian Basketball Federation is being forced to do something it really doesn’t feel comfortable with but hopefully they will work with Euroleague to do what is best for this great sport.”