After leading his side to a surprise 3-0 record in the Top 16, Unics Kazan coach Evgeny Pashutin believes that team chemistry is key to their success.
Last season’s Eurocup winners were impressive in the regular season en route to the second phase, now Pashutin is chasing a second Final Four appearance in two years, only this time with Unics.
“I’m very pleased that we have such good team chemistry now,” Pashutin said. “I wish we will be able to preserve it ’till the end of the season.”
If Unics do advance to the last-eight of he Euroleague, then they will look to their away win against Panathinaikos last week as a major factor, despite then being in the early stages. It gave the Russian team confidence, and last night’s win over Milano underlined their confidence.
“We conceded 44 points, while we played against a strong attacking squad with top-rate shooters as Fotis, Gentile, Nicolas, Cook and Bourousis. We didn’t manage to show our best offensively in the third quarter, but we didn’t let our opponents show their best as well,” Pashutin said about last night’s victory.
While all the talk on the Russian circuit this season has been about CSKA Moscow, Unics Kazan are quietly getting the job done as well, and as we conclude the Top 16 half-way point, both Russian clubs have a combined record of 22-3 in this season’s Euroleague.
Pashutin though isn’t getting carried away, and knows there is still work to be done: “There is no doubt for me that the next road games will be even more difficult. What we have to do now is to restore ourselves, get focused and go on working to get prepared for the next game in Milan.”
While most are expecting a Unics win next week in the Italian fashion-crazed city. Milano can be a tricky side, especially when their top players, such as Omar Cook, Antonis Fotis and Ioannis Bourousis are on form so the Russians will still play like they have everything to lose.
Speaking about last night’s win, forward Henry Domercant said: “There are some lessons we can learn from last night’s game. In the second half, we didn’t score offensively like we could,” he admits.
“Our opponents have made a run , they almost cut the gap to ten in a few minutes. I think we should be better focused in the next game in Milan,”
A win for Kazan in Italy next week would see them put one foot in the last-eight, in a group that Panathinaikos were expected to top, there was one team that clearly didn’t read the script.