The press conference of the 2019 EuroLeague Championship Game between CSKA Moscow and Anadolu Efes took place on Saturday (18/05).
The press conference featured head coach Ergin Ataman and Shane Larkin of Anadolu Efes and head Coach Dimitris Itoudis and Nando De Colo of CSKA Moscow.
Here is a summary of what they said, 24 hours before the Final:
Ergin Ataman: “I am very happy because it will be the first [EuroLeague] final for my club and also for me, but I want to tell that all season long, we tried to play entertaining basketball and yesterday was one of our best performances as a group.
I believe that tomorrow, we will have a lot of support and will try to win the cup, with all respect to CSKA, its great technical staff and its great players, with a lot of experience. CSKA has been to 14 of the last 15 Final Fours (actually 16 of the last 17, J.G.) but this is our first final and we will win it.”
Shane Larkin: “It’s been an incredible experience to be here – my first Final Four, our first final as a club. It’s been an up and down season but we fought together and worked hard.
We bought into the coach’s system, gelled really well as a unit, and to be in this moment is really special. Now we want to take full responsibility and hopefully go out there and get a championship.
Last time I was in the playoffs here in Europe I was playing for Baskonia and we got swept by CSKA. This season coming back I wanted to make a statement, be aggressive, play my game and take another step forward in my career.
Accomplish some things I hadn’t accomplished yet. When the playoffs started I locked in, stayed focused, and watched a lot of film of how and where I could attack.”
Dimitris Itoudis: “What to say? Coach Ataman said they’re gonna win, so it’s not going to be interesting. Obviously, we are very proud to be in the final. Especially the way we came back was outstanding last night.
We have huge respect for all the teams here and especially for our opponent. Efes has played outstanding basketball this season and we’re ready to go.
I would definitely agree with you, but I would say pressure comes with the job. We all knew – Nando, myself and every player – where we were coming and what we represent and what our obligation is. We do represent a great club, a great city and a great country. We do have that knowledge.”
Nando De Colo: “It has been a really long and tough season for us. Like I say all the time, the EuroLeague is a tough competition, but we are here today after a great victory yesterday.
We showed character, so this is good, It’s what we’ve done all season long. We have one more to go. It will not be the easiest one. Efes had a greats season; they deserve to be here and we need to respect that. The most important thing is to stay focused.
I think like all the players, we try to do our best on the court and now is the time to step up and take responsibility and that’s it.
Our team knows exactly how we need to play to win and games and this is what we did in the playoffs and yesterday. Even if it was a tough game we never gave up and played until the end.”