Devotion
Bostjan Nachbar - FC Barcelona - EB13Hello again, Euroleague fans! I am back to the Final Four for the first time since 2002. It has been a while! It is definitely a big thing for me to go back to the Final Four after 12 years. It is something that I always wanted and I had to wait for a long time. Of course, I was not in Europe all this time, but since I came back to Europe in 2008, it was something that I always wanted to do. I have to say that long wait makes me appreciate it much more. It has been so long since I played it! It is something that doesn't happen to me every season. I put a lot of effort and time into making it happen.

I remember we only played one game in 2002; there was no third-place game in that Final Four. It was a great season for me, personally, and for my club, Benetton Treviso. We made it to the Final Four and had high expectations, but unfortunately, the Final Four was in Bologna and we played against Kinder; and their home-court advantage was huge. They beat us; Kinder had an amazing team with an amazing coach. For me, it was an amazing experience; it was the first time that I participated in such a big tournament with so much at stake, with so many fans involved and so many basketball people all in one place. It is a basketball celebration. I have great memories, even though we lost the semis against Kinder.

We will face Real Madrid in the semifinals. Both teams are playing great and will arrive to the Final Four in good form. Madrid is a great team that has had a great Euroleague season so far and a lot of people expect them to win it all. On the other hand, a lot of people expect us to win also, so it is going to be a great... more
POSTED BY Bostjan Nachbar - Barcelona, Spain
DATE: May 9, 2014
llull_portadaHey, Euroleague fans! This is Sergio Llull and I am getting ready for my third Final Four with Real Madrid. We feel good and are really happy to be back in the Final Four. It was one of our goals at the beginning of the season – and we achieved it. We had a tough playoffs series against Olympiacos. It was really intense – physically and mentally speaking. We were able to beat them twice at home, but not in Greece. It is really tough to win there, but we worked all season long to get the home-court advantage in the playoffs, which proved to be decisive. We won Game 5 and made it to the Final Four!

We were really motivated to make it to the Final Four. Felipe Reyes and I have been on this team longer than the rest, but the whole team did a great job, not just us. It was a great team win! We were really focused from the very beginning for all 40 minutes; everyone contributed and allowed us to keep competing for the Euroleague title. Like I said, the home-court advantage was critical. We knew that finishing first or second in the Top 16 was critical for us and we were right. It was critical to have the chance to play Game 5 at home regardless of the opponent. We were second and had to face Olympiacos – a tough opponent and the defending two-time champion. The atmosphere was great. Now we are getting to ready to face FC Barcelona in Milan.

This is the fourth different competition in which we will face Barcelona. We also faced Barcelona in last season's Euroleague semifinals in London. This year, it's been the Spanish Supercup, Copa del Rey, Liga Endesa... and now, a Clasico in the Euroleague. Barcelona is always a tough opponent full of talented and experienced players. They have... more
POSTED BY Sergio Llull - Madrid, Spain
DATE: May 9, 2014
Nenad Krstic - CSKA Moscow - EB13Hello, Euroleague fans! Are you ready for the Final Four? All of us here at CSKA are very happy to be back; qualifying for the Final Four was one of our goals. I think it is a great thing, but also, being in CSKA, it is not just that. We now have a new goal: winning the Euroleague! We have had some ups and downs this season, but we will be ready to face Maccabi when game time comes in Milan.

We cannot think about what happened in the past. It is more about our coaching staff preparing our team to be in the best possible shape. Okay, we struggled in the semifinals last season. I think we were not mentally ready, but now we come back as a more experienced team. You know, with the Final Four, it is always like that. We can have a great season, but once you get there, it all comes down to one game and if you lose, you are out. It is something that we have to be mentally ready for. If you have a bad game, even a few bad minutes, you can lose. It is something that only the Final Four brings; you cannot compare it to any other competition other than maybe the NCAA Final Four, which is something different. You need to be lucky in situations like this, too. In terms of preparation, we will ready.

We went to Italy to play a couple of games and I think that was a great move. Not just to play there, but to build up an even better chemistry within the team. We were in Italy for three days together. It was a nice trip; we had a team dinner after the last game... it felt good! We didn't have too much pressure to win the games, but to improve. There is always a difference between regular games and exhibition games. Still, it was good for us and... more
POSTED BY Nenad Krstic - Moscow, Russia
DATE: May 9, 2014
Joe Ingles - Maccabi Electra - EB13_54790Hello, Euroleague fans! This is Joe Ingles, getting ready for my third Final Four – and my first with Maccabi Electra! Obviously, making it to the Final Four is always a special thing; to make it with a different team is good fun. Reaching three consecutive Final Fours with two different teams is something that I am very proud of, actually. It is always a special time for a Euroleague team. Hopefully we can go there, have some fun and above all, win a couple of games!

Of course, we got great support from our fans all season and expect more of the same at the Final Four in Milan. Winning the playoffs series in our gym was awesome. They supported us all year, especially earlier in the season, when we got off to a little bit of a slow start in the Israeli League. They stuck with us and we just got better and better. Winning our playoff series in front of them and celebrating with them on the court was a great experience. I heard that Final Four tickets sold out the day after we qualified! There will be a lot of Maccabi fans there; we will have the home-court advantage with all the people down there!

Being in the Final Four is a big thing for Maccabi and its players, you can feel it everywhere here in Tel Aviv. Like I said before, we had a tough start of the season and knew all year that we really had a great team that could do something special. We stuck with it, worked hard and did whatever we had to do to get there. I think that is the greatest thing about this team; everyone plays together. We have a great bunch of guys in this team. We are really good friends on and off the court and that is one of the... more
POSTED BY Joe Ingles - Tel Aviv, Israel
DATE: May 9, 2014