Hi, everybody, from my home town of Istanbul!
First of all, I have to mention that everyone here on the Turkish national team have had a great time playing in front of our own fans, both in Ankara and now Istanbul. Maybe that goes without saying, but after winning all our games so far, it must be said loudly. Our fans have helped us to improve our game day by day. The positive energy that we get from them is one of the main reasons for our unbeaten run so far in the World Championships. They simply raise your enthusiasm level during the matches. When you hear them chanting for you, it makes you feel the honour of wearing the jersey of your country. Those are really nice things to feel. And I see myself as a very lucky guy to have the chance to breathe this kind of atmosphere.
Anyway, we still have games to win if we want to complete our mission. In the eighthfinals, the first knockout game, we had another great performance against France. We started with pressure on their guards, in order to keep them from organizing the offense. We were succesfull enough and soon broke their rhythm. They made too many turnovers because of our pressure on the ball and that allowed us to play the game in the way we wanted to play. Hedo Turkoglu and Sinan Guler were both on fire, and we also hurt France with our defense, too. We know that whenever we play defense with that kind of toughness, no one can beat us. We never had problem on defense against France, and we never fail if we play tough like that.
Now, in the quarterfinals, we are going to have probably our toughest game of the tournament so far, against Slovenia. You will remember the game that we played against each other at Eurobasket 2009 in Poland and how we lost to them in the last second. This was the turning point of the tournament for us, and because of it, we lost the chance for a medal. So now comes an opportunity for revenge.
We will try to repeat the same defensive style that won for us against France in order to keep moving forward in the tournament. We have felt the support of our fans behind us since the beginning of the World Championships. Now, I hope that we make them enjoy themselves once again.
OMER ONAN - ISTANBUL
Wednesday, September 08, 2010