Sporting Fantasy Challenge champ rooting for Madrid!
|Almost 16,000 fans of the world-class baskeball will meet at Palau Sant Jordi for the 2011 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four, but none of them will experience it quite like Ramon Pons of Spain, the 2010-11 Sportingbet Fantasy Challenge winner. Ramon worked hard throughout the regular season and the Top 16 to manage the best team in the game, which amassed 2,601.2 points to win the grand prize. As such, Ramon has hit a basketball lover's true jackpot - an exclusive VIP package for him and a friend at the Final Four, including the chance to be on court with the Euroleague champions seconds after the final buzzer! What makes it even more special if that not only it will be Ramon's first Final Four, but his team will battle for Euroleague glory at Sant Jordi, as he told us in this Euroleague.net interview. "I am a Real Madrid fan, so seeing my team in the Final Four after so many years only makes it even better," Ramon told Euroleague.net. "I hope I can celebrate with some Madrid players if they win the title. And I want to touch the Euroleague trophy, too!"
How does it feel to be the 2010-11 Sportingbet Fantasy Challenge winner?
"First of all, I am so happy to be the Fantasy Challenge champion because I really like the game. I felt relieved, because I was under a lot of pressure in the last few days. I was nervous about winning it or not. This is going to be my first Final Four and of course, experiencing all this will be different and great. I can't wait!"
Let's go back to that final week, knowing you battled against two opponents for first place. What was it like?
"Like I said, I was very nervous. I didn't know which players I would use. I was checking the injury report until the very last minute and tried to be careful. I managed to stay atop everyone in the end. I didn't have Stanko Barac in my final lineup and I was scared that it could cost me the grand prize, but I ended up happy for winning it."
You will have the chance to celebrate the title with the Euroleague champions. What does this mean for you?
"It is a new experience, something unique. It is going to be a very special moment in my life, because seeing the Euroleague champions celebrating the title right in front of you is something you don't experience every day. I am a Real Madrid fan, so seeing my team in the Final Four after so many years only makes it even better. I hope I can celebrate with some Madrid players if they win the title. And I want to touch the Euroleague trophy, too!"
Who were your key players in this Fantasy Challenge season?
"I had two must-have players that were there all the way - Dimitris Diamantidis and Fernando San Emeterio. Then there was a player that brought me good luck, David Hakwins. He played great every time I had him and badly when he wasn't on my team. I was lucky but I saw a lot of stats and watched many games, too. It is not all about luck, of course."
You will have the chance to meet a lot of people at the Final Four? Is there anyone you are waiting most to meet?
"Being a Real Madrid fan, there are two of their players I am really looking forward to meeting - Nikola Mirotic and Carlos Suarez. They are my favorite players in the team this season. Hopefully, I will have the chance to see them around and talk to them at some point!"
Has Fantasy Challenge helped you to get to know players that you wouldn't notice if it wasn't for the contest?
"Definitely, because I have watched a lot of Euroleague games that I wouldn't have followed if it wasn't for Fantasy Challenge. I watched a lot of Khimki games because of Keith Langford and some Milano games because of Hawkins. I normally watch a lot of people, but Fantasy made me watch even more. It has been a great Euroleague season. At some point, I was rooting for certain players against my own team, celebrating when Igor Rakocevic scored against Madrid and things like that!"
Would you recommend basketball fans who never played Fantasy Challenge to join it next season?
"First of all, if you like basketball, Fantasy Challenge gives all games an extra interest. It helps you to live the games in a more intense way. You get to know a lot of players who you would never notice before. If I can give one piece of advice, it is you trade for what you believe will happen, even if it goes beyond logic. If you double-checked it properly, go ahead and do it. That is the way you get the best results - it really worked very well for me."