Devotion
by: Javier Gancedo, Euroleague.net
May 21, 2013
Vassilis Spanoulis - Olympiacos - EB12
In one of the best continental finals ever witnessed, Olympiacos Piraeus successfully defended the Turkish Airlines Euroleague title by downing Real Madrid 100-88 in the final at The O2 in London, the United Kingdom. Olympiacos trailed by 17 at the end of the first quarter and its superstar, Euroleague MVP Vassilis Spanoulis, was scoreless at halftime, accumulating a performance index rating of -10. Spanoulis bounced back like few players in history at this level, hitting 3 consecutive three-pointers right after the break to complete his team's comeback. He would add another pair of triples, including one from midway to halfcourt, to seal the outcome in the next-to-last minute. Spanoulis had all of his game-high 22 points in the second half to earn his third Final Four MVP trophy: he joined Toni Kukoc as the only player so honored three times. Spanoulis has never lost a Final Four game on his way to three Euroleague titles and he has led Olympiacos to new heights. Of course, Spanoulis gives a lot of credit to his teammates and how they managed to stay together through a difficult season, as he told us in this Euroleague.net interview. "Everybody accepts and is happy with their roles; that's the secret to our success," Spanoulis said. "We try to go out, speak to each other and have fought many times, too. It is normal in a family to fight. This shows we are family. We don't say anything behind our backs, but straight and honest." more
by: Euroleague.net
May 5, 2013
Stratos Perperoglou - Olympiacos Piraeus
After becoming the last team to reach the Final Four, reigning Turkish Airlines Euroleague champion Olympiacos Piraeus now takes aim to accomplish what only three other teams have done in the Final Four era – successfully defend its title. In this attempt to make history, the Reds will need a good night off the bench from experienced sharpshooter Stratos Perperoglou, who himself is trying to write a little bit of history. In addition to his two Euroleague titles, for Stratos it is his fourth Final Four appearance in six Euroleague seasons, and his third in a row. If his team in London goes all the way to the end, he will become only the third man to win a continental crown with both Greek powerhouses – Olympiacos and Panathinaikos Athens. “The team who wants it more and will fight more will win the Final Four and I hope that team is us,” Perperoglou told Euroleague.net. “We are in great shape physically and mentally because the mental part is really important, how you approach the game in your head. With no fear, and with respect for everybody.” more
by: Euroleague.net
May 5, 2013
Sarunas Jasikevicius - FC Barcelona Regal - EB12
As arguably the most successful active player in the competition, Sarunas Jasikevicius of FC Barcelona Regal is getting ready for his sixth Final Four. If his team lifts the trophy at the O2 on May 12, it will Saras's fifth continental crown, which would tie him with legends Clifford Luyk, Aldo Ossola and former teammate Fragiskos Alvertis for second place on the all-time players list. He is the only player to win the Euroleague with three different teams (Barcelona, Maccabi Tel Aviv and Panathinaikos Athens), the only player to win three consecutive Euroleague titles in the last 20 years, is the competition's all-time leader in free throw accuracy (91.97%) and has a near-perfect 8-1 record in the Final Four. Simply put, Saras is a living legend who knows what it takes to be successful in this situation. His numbers have improved as the season progressed and he averaged 7.4 points on 53.8% three-point shooting in the down-to-the-wire playoffs series against Panathinaikos. Jasikevicius may be a Final Four veteran, but still has the hunger and excitement to try to do it again, as he told us in this Euroleague.net interview. "I have surprised myself a lot by still wanting to do it! I still have the motivation to do it. As long as I have this motivation, I will continue playing," Saras told Euroleague.net. "At the same time, it is a new situation, a new challenge, and we are looking forward to it." more
by: Euroleague.net
May 5, 2013
Sergio Llull - Real Madrid - EB12
By reaching its second Final Four in three years, Real Madrid has proved that it is ready to start a new era and to challenge for the Euroleague title on regular basis, just like it previously did for decades. Madrid became the first team to reach the Final Four by sweeping Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv in the playoffs. Its hottest player lately has been combo guard Sergio Llull, who was chosen as the bwin MVP for April. Llull led Madrid to a big home win against Anadolu Efes Istanbul to secure home-court advantage in the playoffs and then took over against Maccabi to send Madrid to the Final Four. Llull, an All-Euroleague Second Team selection in 2010-11, averaged 15.8 points on 56.5% three-point shooting and 3 assists in four Euroleague games in April. Llull and Madrid are now getting ready for the next challenge of facing archrival FC Barcelona Regal in the Euroleague semifinals, with the chance to take his team to the title game for the first time since 1995. Llull wants to be practical when it comes to this semifinal, as he told us in this Euroleague.net interview. "It is a Final Four semifinal and that makes it a special game no matter who we play against," Llull told Euroleague.net. "We are facing an opponent that we know very well. There are few secrets left when it comes to these two teams. We just need to be better than them to win and get to the final. more