F4 2004 FAN MAIL: Vrbica Stefanov, Montepaschi
April 25, 2004
One could find many keys to Montepaschi's success this season. However, it's fair to start by the beginning and on court a team starts with its point guard. In the Siena team Vrbica Stefanov is the undisputable starter at that spot. One of the fastest players in the Euroleague and great passer, many of Montepaschi's options will depend on the level that Stefanov displays on court, with his explosive fastbreaks or feeding his teammates. "Our whole team is waiting for this competition" Stefanov said in the Euroleague.net Fan Mail. "Who wouldn't be waiting for a Final Four?"
Hi Vrbica! First I wish you and your team a sincere "good luck" for the Final Four in Tel Aviv. I consider you one of the best point guards in Europe. It is evident that on paper Montepaschi Siena are the underdogs. In my opinion, this will help you a lot, just as it did in the Top 16. What do you think? Thanks,
Mark Bonello Gozo, Malta
"First of all, thanks for your personal compliments, Mark. I don't know and I'm not so sure if we are going to be the underdogs at the Final Four. I'm only sure that we were in a tough group in the regular season. Then we were in a very tough group in the Top 16 and no one said we were the favorite team. To win such a difficult group, we have had a success. For sure it's much better when you win against those kind of teams and it wouldn't have been so satisfying if we have had an easy way."
How do you feel to be playing in the Final Four of such a great competition?
"Great, really great. But I'm not the only one who is feeling the same way. I can affirm all the team is waiting this incredible competition. Who wouldn't have great expectations for Final Four? Not us for sure."
Hello, Vrbica. I would like to know who was the player you found hardest to defend among the teams you played against this season? Also, what rival would you prefer between Maccabi and CSKA? Thanks,
"I can answer with the first two names that I have in my mind: JR Holden from CSKA Moscow and Tyus Edney from Benetton Treviso. It's very difficult to say which can be my preference in the Final between CSKA and Maccabi. Also because we are talking about CSKA and Maccabi! This season Moscow has already shown itself capable of playing good in Tel Aviv, but I think at the end Maccabi will take the victory and play the final."
Ciao Vrbica, I love the way you play. You are one of the fastest guards in Europe while at the same time always remain calm and elegant in your play. My question: Did you have any idols or influences that developed that style you have? Good luck in Tel Aviv!!
"Really thanks for your compliments, Roberto. When I was young I really liked two players a lot. The first one was Drazen Petrovic, since he played in Europe and then when he went to the NBA. The other one is Michael Jordan."
Hello Vrbica, This is your third year in Siena and you've been to the Final Four twice and won the Saporta Cup. What did you learn from last year's Final Four in Barcelona that you could use this year? Ciao,
"During last year's Final Four in Barcelona we learned that we have to play strong from the first minute of the game. We can't give a big advantage to another team as we did the last year. We had to come back from 20 behind and we lost a lot of our energy."
Vrbica, you guys had a good experience playing in Final Four from last year. What do you think of your chances getting the title this year?
Turgut Mustafayev Philadelphia, US
"I can start talking from the beginning of the season trying to answer you. We played in the strongest group in the regular season and in the Top 16, but we all believed to be in the Final Four. Now that we have made it here, we believe we can reach the final game, too. Then, if we can do it, anything could happen. You know, it's very difficult to make a forecast on a single match."
Vrbica, do you mind the fact that both times you had to face another Italian team in the semifinals? Thank you.
Manuel Serrano, Barcelona
"No, I don't mind. You can also see it from a different point of view. We are going to face Skipper for the fifth time and it may be better playing against an Italian team in the semifinal because we know them very well."
Ciao Vrbica, It's the fifth time that your team and Skipper will meet this season and so far each team has two home wins. What is the key to stop Skipper? Grazie,
"I think the key of the match is going to be the defense for us because Skipper really plays great basketball. For sure we need 40 minutes of 100 percent defense if we want to have a victory against Skipper."
Hello, Like last year, Siena has improved a lot in the Top 16 like it was just waiting the right time to explode and make it to the Final Four on its best shape. What do you think have been the main difference's between this year's road to the Final Four and last year's?
Yoav, Tel Aviv
"In my opinion there are not so many differences between this year's road and the last year's road to the Final Four. If I have to indicate a difference, I can only see one. Maybe we didn't play well from the beginning during last season, while Siena played very good from the first game of the 2003-04 Euroleague."
Hey Vrbica, Are there any surprising players you have discovered this season in the Euroleague? I think one is your teammate, David Vanterpool. Good luck,
"I think you're right. David is really a great player and surprised a lot of people with his very good performances. It's very difficult to find a surprising player in the Euroleague. I only can say I like Arvydas Macijauskas from Tau Vitoria very much."