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Captains & Coaches Speak ahead of Basketball Champions League Final Four

Basketball Champions League

Sports Rabbi on location in Antwerp

The Basketball Champions League heads into the last stages of the 2018/19 season with their 3rd Annual Final Four Tournament, this year being held in Antwerp, Belgium. The semifinals will take place Friday with Brose Bamberg playing Bologna while the other half of the bracket sees the host Antwerp Giants taking on the 2016/17 Champion Tenerife.

Antwerp Captain Dave Dudzinski spoke about the wonderful progress the team has made this past season, “It was a process and we’re taking it one step at a step. It snowballed and we got a playoff spot and hopefully we can continue that on Friday. We have some great young Belgian talent and the league is on the rise, we want to show that we can be competitive in Europe.”

His coach Roel Moors echoed his captain’s comments, “I think the process started last year when we brought this group together. We just missed out on qualifying last year but that was our goal this year and here we are.”

Tenerife Captain Nicolas Richotti looked at the fact that Antwerp was playing at home as an advantage, for the Belgium side, “We know that Antwerp is a very good team and playing at home is a great plus and energy. We have to be ready. It says a lot about how strong the competition is.”

Coach Txus Vidorreta talked about changing history, “There are four big teams here and each one can win the title. But we are looking to spoil the party playing against Antwerp. If we win the first game we have a chance to win the title, but we need to change the history of the host’s winning the competition over the past two years.“

The Bologna Captain Peitro Aradori knows what the team’s goal is coming into the competition, “Our goal was to make the Final Four and our new coach Alexander Djordjevic gave us a big push to get here. We want to bring back a title to Bologna which hasn’t happened in many years. Our goal is to win the trophy.”

Coach Djordjevic discussed where he feels his team is going into the semifinal, “We are in a good spot and we can fight for this trophy. We have peace in our mind and fight in our heart. Bamberg deserves a lot of credit. They have a great system and great organization. They have a lot of experience on the floor.”

Finally Bamberg Captain, veteran Nikos Zisis has seen the highs and lows this season as the German powerhouse prepares to face Bologna, “We had an up and down year. After we changed coaches we started to play better and together and as a unit. That was the key for us. The game against AEK Athens, last year’s champion was huge for us. We were down with just minutes to go. But Tyrese Rice was huge for us scoring three triples plus his great play over one of the best defenders to send us through was amazing.”

His coach Fredrico Perego is optimistic ahead of a classic continental clash, “We are here and we want to compete. They have a lot of talent and are very deep and we will have to play better defense and be super focused to give our best effort.”