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Live Blog, Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Barca and the Reds complete the Final Four poker!
Within 10 minutes of one another, Olympiacos Piraeus and FC Barcelona Regal landed in Istanbul and rushed to the Final Four headquarters. Barcelona’s arrival coincided with the return of Panathinaikos from its evening practice, which resulted in several embraces among longtime friends who, all hope to have the chance to meet on the floor in Sunday’s Turkish Airlines Euroleague title game. A noteworthy reunion was held between two of the game’s legends, all-time scoring king Juan Carlos Navarro and the winningest active Euroleague player, four-time champion Sarunas Jasikevicius. The two were teammates on the squad that brought Barcelona its first Euroleague crown in 2003. Other duos that shared small talk before heading their separate ways were Barca’s Marcelinho Huertas and Panathinaikos ’s David Logan – former teammates at Caja Laboral – and All-Euroleague nominee Mike Batiste of the Greens and Barca forward Pete Mickeal. Euroleague.net bloggers
from Olympiacos and
of Barcelona also shared their thoughts on the Final Four with Euroleague.TV before both headed for a late dinner and some rest ahead of a bust Thursday in Istanbul.
Wednesday, May 9, 21:23 CET
CSKA is also in the house!
The atmosphere in Istanbul grows warmer by the hour as the teams and their families converge on the headquarters at Polat Renaissance Hotel. The second team to arrive was CSKA Moscow, which resumes its participation in European basketball signature event after a one-year hiatus. The players CSKA players all seemed genuinely excited to be here and took their time in the lobby to pose for photos and to chat with reporters. Euroleague.net blogger
was interviewed for Euroleague.TV and forward Andrey Vorontsevich spoke with Euroleague.net’s Javier Gancedo about the vibe on his team. "It is great to be back in the Final Four and to fight for the Euroleague title in Istanbul. We played here this season and some of us played at the 2010 World Championships in this arena. We all remember good things about that tournament. We have come all together, as always, as a team. Not only players, but families and staff - the entire CSKA family is here. It is a great to stay all together not only as a big team, but as a big family." The family atmosphere was clear seeing the CSKA work their ways into the elevators with several bags and in one player’s case – his 10-month-old daughter. The Final Four lineup in Istanbul will be complete soon with both Olympiacos Piraeus and FC Barcelona Regal expected to arrive shortly.
Wednesday, May 9, 20:22 CET
A hotel in a Final Four mood
As part of the welcome Istanbul’s luxurious Polat Renaissance Hotel prepared for the participants and guests of the 2012 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four were sets of specially designed key cards to the rooms. With only a limited amount of keys produced and the first runs all going to the four teams, which all arrived Wednesday, this souvenir is certainly a nice little keepsake for those that can get their hands on them.
Wednesday, May 9, 20:07 CET
Sinan Erdem is dressing up!
As the teams arrive, the finishing touches are being put on the court that they will give everything to win on. The hardwood at Sinan Erdem Arena was touched up on Wednesday and the official logos of the 2012 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four were applied so that everything will be in tip-top shape long before the teams take the floor to practice on Thursday. Only one team, Panathinaikos, has a practice scheduled from Wednesday, but the Greens will do so at a nearby gym. The other three teams – CSKA Moscow, FC Barcelona Regal and Olympiacos – arrive later Wednesday and will wait until the next day to try out their shots on the Istanbul rims. Aside from the basketball court itself, everything else at Sinan Erdem Arena is ready for action, from the VIP areas to the media tribunes, the fan concessions and the security outside. There is no doubt from walking around Sinan Erdem Arena that Istanbul is ready for the global spotlight of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four.
Wednesday, May 9, 17:02 CET
The first team has landed!
Welcome to Euroleague.net's Final Four 2012 LIVE blog! Here we will try to let you behind the curtain at the 2012 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four with stories and photos from around the town as the eyes of the world turn to Istanbul for this premier event. Just like last season, defending champion Panathinaikos was first to arrive. The Greens stormed into the 2012 Final Four headquarters at the Polat Reinassance hotel ready to roll. Team manager Manos Papadopoulos flew in one day before the team to make sure everything was prepared exactly the way Panathinaikos wanted. He picked up all the hotel keys ahead of time so that the Panathinaikos players could avoid waiting at reception. In fact, the Greens hopped off the bus and went straight to lunch. Mike Batiste – wearing one of the official 2012 Turkish Airlines Euroleague shirts – was the first player to get off the bus, grab his bags and enter the hotel. Just as last season, Panathinaikos hopes to be the first team to arrive, but the last to leave the floor! The Greens will be the only team to practice later on today. We had the chance to speak to Euroleague.net blogger Stratos Perperoglou upon arrival, check out his interview
! CSKA Moscow will arrive later this afternoon and Olympiacos Piraeus and FC Barcelona Regal are set to get to the hotel at night.
Wednesday, May 9, 15:07 CET
Thursday, May 10, 2012
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