Final Four Round 2 - May 01, 2004 CET: 20:40 Local time: 21:40 - NOKIA ARENA

Records

Ave.   Ave.
0-0 Final Four 0-0
0-0 Top 16 0-0
0-0 Regular Season 0-0
16-5 Overall 14-7

Referees

Crew Chief
BRAZAUSKAS, ROMUALDAS, Lithuania
Referee
COELHO, ANTONIO, Portugal
Umpire
BELOSEVIC, ILIJA, Serbia

Team Stats

Ave.   Ave.
85.0 Points 85.4
32.8 Rebounds 31.8
8.0 O. Rebounds 10.3
24.8 D. Rebounds 21.5
16.2 Assists 13.4
10.5 Steals 12.8
2.9 Blocks 2.4
12.3 Turnovers 13.0
57.4 % 2PT 53.5 %
39.2 % 3PT 37.6 %
79.6 % FT 78.1 %
100.9 Index 91.2

Player Stats

Ave.   Ave.
17.2 / VUJCIC, NIKOLA Points 16.1 / VUJANIC, MILOS
8.2 / BASTON, M. Rebounds 6.1 / DELFINO, CARLOS
2.2 / BASTON, M. OR 2.2 / V.d. Spiegel
6.1 / BASTON, M. DR 4.4 / DELFINO, CARLOS
4.8 / Jasikevicius Assists 4.6 / POZZECCO, GIANMARCO
1.3 / BASTON, M. Steals 1.7 / DELFINO, CARLOS
1.4 / BASTON, M. Blocks 0.9 / V.d. Spiegel
2.5 / Jasikevicius Turnovers 2.1 / POZZECCO, GIANMARCO
69.7 % / Blu 2PT 62.1 % / SMODIS, MATJAZ
47.9 % / PARKER, ANTHONY 3PT 43.8 % / POZZECCO, GIANMARCO
92.3 % / Jasikevicius FT 89.4 % / POZZECCO, GIANMARCO
21.7 / PARKER, ANTHONY Index 14.3 / DELFINO, CARLOS

THE TAKE

Everything is set for the biggest game of the season in European basketball, as Maccabi Tel Aviv and Skipper Bologna will face each other in the Euroleague Final at Nokia Arena at 20:40 CET on Saturday night. Maccabi will have the home court advantage, a crowd of 10,482 fully in its corner, as well as the support of a whole country waiting on every dribble and shot. Maccabi's ability to make all that expectation a boost and not a burden will be one of the big questions in the determination of a new Euroleague champion. Skipper is less affected by great expectations, and neither will it have any help from the crowd, though that may not matter. Skipper has proven it can win at Nokia Arena, having beaten Maccabi there 89-99 on January 29 with an impressive barrage of 15 three-pointers. It must be remembered, however, that Maccabi proved it can out-gun Skipper, as it did in Bologna in November, winning a 104-111 overtime thriller. Despite the high stakes of playing with the Euroleague trophy at courtside, waiting to be lifted by only one team, a fast-paced game can be expected by two teams who can really fill up the baskets. High scoring has rarely been the rule in a continental title game, but with two teams whose offenses know no boundaries, the 2004 Euroleague Final should be one for the history books.

Maccabi's major concern will be preventing Skipper from playing its usual open court game and running the break. In its semifinal win over CSKA, Maccabi used great defense featuring an aggressive matchup zone that Skipper can expect to face in the final. Skipper managed to play the semifinal against Montepaschi Siena at the pace that suited it best. Head coach Jasmin Repesa won a tactical battle due to his versatile roster, which allowed Skipper at one point to play without a single center or power forward. Skipper's regular lineup boasts a superstar in the making, Carlos Delfino, author of 27 points in the semifinal victory over Montepaschi. Delfino played 41 minutes in that game, but was strong enough at the end to hit a big three-pointer and sink the winning free throw in overtime. Skipper played small in the semifinal because center Tomas Van den Spiegel was slowed by injury and scorer Hanno Mottola by fouls. Youngster Erazem Lorbek was actually the surprise starter, alongside Skipper's most consistent frontcourt force, Matjaz Smodis, who had 14 points in the semifinal and will be remembered in Tel Aviv as the author of 5 three-pointers back in January.

What makes Skipper's frontcourt difficult to defend is that Smodis and Mottola can rain shots from downtown and draw big defenders away from the basket. In the case of Maccabi, the big men are more traditional, and highly effective closer to the basket. Multi-talented power forward Nikola Vujcic is equally dangerous as a scorer or a passer working with Maceo Baston, who usually slams those passes. Both are key to a flexible offense that is one of the keys to coach Pini Gershon's success. Maccabi has additional frontcourt depth in David Bluthental, who didn't miss a shot while scoring 9 points in the win over CSKA, and veteran banger Deon Thomas. Both step on court and help Maccabi sustain a highly-competitive level near the basket.

Skipper knows that its win must include strong interior defense, which also means the visitors must prevent Maccabi floor general Sarunas Jasikevicius from distributing the ball to his liking. In Maccabi's regular season home loss, Jasikevicius suffered 6 turnovers, but in the semifinal against CSKA's renowned defense, he gave up just one while scoring 18 points and dishing 6 assists. Two of those were spectacular alley-oop passes to Anthony Parker, who kept Maccabi in the game early against CSKA, and then blasted off in the third quarter, finishing with a game-high 27 points. Both are proven players in big games and their experience will be counted on by Maccabi and its fans. Maccabi's backcourt is more than those two. Another clutch veteran, Derrick Sharp, saved Maccabi's season in the Top 16. Meanwhile, both Tal Burstein, with a huge triple down the stretch, and young sensation Yotam Halperin helped beat CSKA.

If Skipper's backcourt is somewhat less experienced in major games, it certainly doesn't lack for super talent. Milos Vujanic burned Maccabi for 6 three-pointers at Nokia Arena in January, and he has plenty of help. Oppenents know that starter Gianluca Basile can not only explode in any given game, but save his best for the finish. Gianmarco Pozzecco played great all-around minutes off the bench against Montepaschi and will have the chance to challenge Jasikevicius similarly in the final. A.J. Guyton joined Pozzecco with great production off the bench in the semifinals, meaning that Maccabi should be cautious to underestimate any of them. The top stars of the semis, Parker and Delfino, will be face off in a classic matchup that, whether or not it influences the game, is sure to give off sparks. Who among them makes those sparks set of fireworks will help decide whether Skipper Bologna or Maccabi Tel Aviv will be known forever after as the 2003-04 Euroleague champion.
Friday, April 30, 2004
Euroleague.net

Quotes Head Coaches

GERSHON, PINI
Maccabi Elite
"It is important for us to reduce Skipper's average scoring, as they can make 90 points in any given game and even scored more than that twice against us. The one who manages to limit its opponents' offense will probably win the game. Both teams are high-scoring ones, but the biggest advantage is that we have been at this level before, and that will be a factor tomorrow. I hope not to depend on the last shot, nodoby wants that, but it's a possibility. In a game in which both teams can score more than 90 points, anything can happen. One good thing about Skipper, which also happens to Maccabi, is that each player in its roster in dangerous. For instance, Anthony Parker had a good semifinal game, but that doesn't mean he will play a good final nor that we cannot win if he doesn't have a good game.”
“You cannot depend on one player, and the team has to win at the end of the game, it's a five-on-five situation, not four-on-five but six-on-five. You cannot stop everything, but just a part of it, and the team who stops 10 percent of its opponents' game will be able to win it all. Despite the expectations of a high-scoring game, Skipper had some games in which they didn't reach the 80-point mark. Skipper wants the Cup as much as we do, and each player will know what to do when they arrive to the locker room. Our advantage is that we have been here before, experience is more important than being in our own home court. We need to play good defense and keep Skipper below its scoring average. We have been able to overcome the pressure all season long. Once you get into the locker room, you have to see each player's vibrations. One thing is clear: no matter if you are 22 or 28 years old, a certain impact is impossible to be avoided without experience. The more experience, the better you perform in these situations, and we hope to turn this pressure into success. We feel that right now we are the team of Israel, we cannot walk 2 meters on the street without being asked and feeling the people's desire in this Final Four. We represent the whole country, thousands watch the games in parks, people get together in houses to see our games. We were able to offer them a win yesterday and we hope to do it tomorrow."
REPESA, JASMIN
Skipper Bologna
"I think that both teams are good and their offenses work very well. For me, the team who wins will be the one that has played better defense at the end of the game. The future in basketball is hard to tell. For coaches, there is only the next game. You have to win every day."
"You are right, we are the youngest team in the Euroleague this year. Eleven players are in the Final Four for the first time, and this will be a great experience for all of them. But we don't have any pressure here in this tournament and that's our big advantage. We just played one time here, three or our months ago, with the same crowd as tomorrow, and we won pretty easy. I hope we can repeat that game or a similar one."
"As I said before, both teams' offense works very well, but the team that plays better defense will win the game. It's diffcult to tell what will happen tomorrow. It's a new game. We will see."

Players

PARKER, ANTHONY
Maccabi Elite
"Who might be the MVP is not really my focus coming into a game. We come together, as a team, and we prepare with our scouting reports to do our best against any opponent. I certainly don't come into a game thinking that hopefully I can be the MVP. You play your game as well as you can and you hope you can come out with a victory. And after, someone else makes the judgement of who is the MVP. That's not my concern."
"I did compete against Skipper last year in Italy. It's a little different team this year, a lot better I would say, since they added some important pieces. But I don't think I have any more of an advantage than my teammates because I played in Italy last year. We played them twice before this year, and we have the experience from those games and scouting that will help us prepare for the final."
"I didn't choose to leave Italy as much as I chose to come back to Maccabi. Tel Aviv has become like my second home, a place I love, the organization, the city, the team and especially the fans. With the Final Four coming here, it was hard to pass up the opportunity to return. I was more than happy to come back to Tel Aviv."
"I have a good feeling about tomorrow. Like Pini said, we can talk about pressure or not, but no matter how old you are, when that the opening jump ball is ready to go up, you feel it in your stomach, I don't care whether you're 40 or you're 20. Both teams want to win. In terms of tactics, defense will be key. The team that controls rebounds and gets easy baskets running the floor will have it easier."
SHARP, DERRICK
Maccabi Elite
"It better be a different game than our last matchup here. We have to make sure they don't open get shots. Last time, we faced each other with no pressure, but this time it will be different. Skipper plays with a lot of freedom. Everyone has the green light to shoot. We will try to be right on them, and I hope it will be a different scenario this time. It is the last big game of the year and the most important one, the final, the big challenge to finish a great show, and I hope we can win the title."
VUJCIC, NIKOLA
Maccabi Elite
"We know Skipper very well, we have played them twice this season. They have lots of players that can be really used. They love running a lot and they do that at a high level. In this kind of scenario, the team who plays better defense will have the biggest chance to win."
JASIKEVICIUS, SARUNAS
Maccabi Elite
"This will be a hard game, just like every final I have played. They are never easy games. We have a great team in front of us to end the season, and they have great players at every position and a great coach who knows how to do things well. They have a great scoring capacity and our main aim will be to stop that. We almost have no time to prepare this game but we know each other well from the regular season."
BASTON, MACEO
Maccabi Elite
"This is the last obstacle, we are just one step away, and they have beaten us here already. Rotation will be important. They have mobile big men, but so did CSKA with Panov and Turkcan, Defense will be the key of the game. This is the biggest game of my career, even when I won a NIT title with Michigan, so I'm going to give all I have."
THOMAS, DEON
Maccabi Elite
"We have been playing really good defense lately, and we hope to do the same tomorrow. We have to get out there and avoid allowing easy shots for them, especially open shots. We have been working for that all year long. Somebody asked me at the end of the regular season who was the best team I faced and I said Skipper, and here we are again. It is going to be a tough game for both teams, Skipper opens the court with its big men and likes to run the break. They play our style of game, so the biggest key to winning is getting less turnovers than them and stopping their three-point attempts. They have a versatile team, but that's not a big problem. We have mobile and athletic big guys, too."
VUJANIC, MILOS
Skipper Bologna
"Tomorrow it will be a very tough game. Maccabi is a very great team with great players. But we beat Maccabi in the first round in Tel Aviv. But if you remember, we scored 15 three-pointers, so we cannot expect that again. We have to play our game and have the whole team involved. I hope tomorrow we can be a little lucky and for the first time in the history of Skipper, win this cup."
BASILE, GIANLUCA
Skipper Bologna
"There are adjustments that we will make against Maccabi that we didn't use against Montepaschi, but nothing changes too much. The key with them is the pick-and-roll. We can't let them do that all night. We have to find new solutions, but you'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out if we can do any better than CSKA."
SMODIS, MATJAZ
Skipper Bologna
"We have the capacity to stay in the game no matter what. That's been our strength all season long. Even when we fall behind 10, 12 or 15 points, we're still right there. Somehow, we manage to stay in every game. We know that if we can be close in the fourth quarter, even if we're behind, we still can win the game. We are calm in those situations. We want to see how they react when we make a little run. We just have to be there with them and see what mistakes they make. It won't be easy, but we're always in the game."
LORBEK, ERAZEM
Skipper Bologna
"This is where we want to be. In one game it's impossible to say who will win. I think we have confidence from winning here already, and they know that we've beaten them here. But it will not be easy. They are a team full of great players. They have a great player at every position."
POZZECCO, GIANMARCO
Skipper Bologna
"People say that Maccabi has all the pressure but this is the finals of the Euroleague….there is pressure on both sides. Just being in this situation puts stress on a team. And the difference between winning and losing is huge, so you can't take it lightly. It's true that it's already a victory for us to be here, but now that we're here it doesn't mean that it doesn't matter if we win or lose. Were we nervous for the semifinal? I think that it's only human. I'm more nervous for this game than I was for the semifinal. If you're not nervous to play the final of the Euroleague in front of all the people and all the attention and with all that is at stake, then either you don't care about winning or you are a stone. Personally, I take this seriously and live through these emotions, so I'm not just nervous. I'm also excited. It will be a great game."
DELFINO, CARLOS
Skipper Bologna
"As always, we're not the favorites. They have to win, they've got more expectations because they're playing in front of their fans and they were built to win the Euroleague. We're calm. We're happy to be here. Being here is a great result for us. We're just going to try and show what we can do. There are tactical things like stoppoing their fastbreak that we've got to be careful with because they depend a lot on their fastbreak. I'm not worried about how individual players play. The last time we played them, Parker had 20 points and shot 4-for-4 from the three-point line, and you know what happened? They lost. So we'll just try to get the win as a team like we always do."
It's time to paint the basketballs yellow instead of orange! The Euroleague has a new champion tonight after Maccabi Tel Aviv defeated Skipper Bologna 118-74 in a record-breaking show never before seen in European basketball. Maccabi won with the most points by the biggest difference ever, going back almost 50 years since the start of European pro basketball. Maccabi's spectacular blowout punctuated a season that has lifted European basketball to new and greater heights. Before one of the most euphoric crowds in basketball history, Maccabi made a dream of the entire country of Israel come true without any bit of suspense. From the opening tap, Maccabi ruled its home floor at Nokia Arena, soaring to a 25-point halftime lead and never looking back. It marked the fourth time that Maccabi has lifted a cup as a continental champion. Though it had a home crowd of 10,458 was fully behind it, Maccabi took nothing for granted. Its 55 first-half points was a record in the Final Four era, and it's defense was just as impressive. By the middle of the third quarter, it was showtime, as the Final MVP, Anthony Parker, rocked the rim with reverse dunks and Sarunas Jasikevicius dropped triples. The party had long since begun in the stands, and the celebration will not stop anytime soon. Maccabi is champion of Europe, and there was no doubt about it!

It was a night of major numbers for Maccabi, who broke 10 separate records in the modern Final Four era. The protagonists were many. Parker was almost flawless, finishing with 21 points and missing only 2 shots from the field. David Bluthenthal came off the bench and boosted Maccabi with 20 points in just 16 minutes, including 4 three-pointers. Jasikevicius also hit 4 from downtown, while scoring 18 points in just 17 minutes. Tal Burstein had the game's only double-double, 17 points and 10 rebounds in 36 minutes, more playing time than anyone. Maccabi made an incredible 71% of its two-point shots (28 for 38) and 61% of its threes (14 for 23). Skipper could not keep up from the start, but had a good game out of Milos Vujanic, with 21 points. Gianluca Basile and Gianmarco Pozzecco added 10 points each for Skipper, which was playing in its first-ever final.

For the record, Matjaz Smodis opened the scoring with a layup on Skipper's first possession. But that was the last time Skipper would lead. Maccabi took its first lead with a triple by Sarunas Jasikevicius that brought down the house. Anthony Parker then blocked a fastbreak layup by Milos Vujanic, and at the other end, Jasikevicius drilled his second triple. Parker then made a three-point play, forcing Skipper coach Jasmin Repesa to called time ut after 3 minutes with the score 9-2. With the noise at deafening levels, Skipper went scoreless for nearly 4 minutes until Delfino knocked down 2 free throws. With Skipper already in the bonus, Jasikevicius knocked down two free throws and Maccabi's lead surged to 13-4 after a Parker breakaway layup. Skipper switched to a small lineup with Stefano Mancinelli at the power forward spot, but they still couldn't find success, missing 6 field goals in a row while committing 3 turnovers. Maccabi couldn't have played better, as Vujcic followed Bluthental's turnaround jumper with 2 more foul shots for a 19-5 lead. Basile stepped up for Skipper with a three-pionter, Skipper's first field goal since the first possession of the game. Yotam Halperin and Tal Burstein combined 4 points in the final 2 minutes, then a seven-meter three off an inbound pass by Bluthenthal gave Maccabi a 31-13 lead after 10 minutes.

Maccabi pushed its lead to 20 points on a long two-pointer by Vujcic on the first possession of the second quarter, but Skipper responded with a 2-8 run with baskets from Delfino, Vujanic and Mottola that made the score 35-21. That's as close as Skipper was going to get. Skipper's momentum was quickly halted by Bluthenthal, who scored 6 points on a 8-2 run. Skipper ran into trouble when Smodis picked up his third foul and would sit for the rest of the quarter. Gianluca Basile dropped in a jump shot, but Maccabi scored the next 4 points and Skipper still couldn't find its rhythm. Parker added salt to Skipper's wounds when he beat the shot clock with a five-meter jumper with less than five minutes to play in the half. On the next play Bluthenthan pushed Maccabi's edge back to 20 points, 43-23. Skipper couldn't find answers on offense without a low-post presence and its triples continued to miss. Skipper made only 2 of 11 from long range in the first half. Now, Skipper couldn't stop Maccabi from getting shots near the basket, as the lead hit 51-27 after a Gur Shelef lay-in with just over a minute remaining in the half. Gianmarco Pozzecco knocked down a three-pointer, but Maccabi grabbed its biggest lead, 55-30, after scoring the final 5 points. Maccabi set a new record of most points scored in the first half of a Euroleague final, as Philips Milano (1988) and Kinder Bologna (2001) shared the previous record at 52.

Maccabi opened the second half with a powerful basket by Baston, who blocked Mottola's shot in the other end. The Israeli champs carried on playing at full intensity in both sides of the floor and their biggest lead of the game at that point, 28 points, on a Burstein free throw one minute into the quarter. Vujanic made his first triple of the game, but Jasikevicius cancelled it with a three that boosted Maccabi's lead to 64-38. Parker followed with a highlight-worthy two-handed reverse slam plus foul over Delfino, sending the crowd into ecstacy. Skipper did not give up, however, and fired back with a 0-10 run in which Vujanic had 5 points and Mottola nailed a three-pointer which brought the Italians within 64-45. Jasikevicius cut off the Skipper rally with a pull-up jumper and Baston punctuated Maccabi's play with a reverse dunk that gave Maccabi a 71-48 lead. Vujanic scored his 20th point with a floating layup, but Parker answered with 5 points in a row to give Maccabi a 80-51 lead at the end of the third quarter.

The tide was coming in, against Skipper's favor, and Maccabi did not let up. The hosts' margin was pushed to 106-65 on another Bluthenthal shot and there was not hope for Skipper. Basile made a three, Jasikevicius matched that on the other end, as Maccabi's shooting clinic had begun. Jasikevicius, Burstein and Shelef powered the team, and Bluthental drilled his fourth three-pointer to extend its lead to 95-57 as Maccabi set a new record for most points in a final. There were tears if joy in the stands, while the whole country got ready for a long, long night of celebration. Maccabi Tel Aviv, the team that represents Israel best all around the world, more than a team to most of its citizens, has succeeded in his biggest goal of the season: become the new Euroleague champion on its own court at Nokia Arena!
Saturday, May 1, 2004
Euroleague.net
Referees: BRAZAUSKAS, ROMUALDAS (LTU), COELHO, ANTONIO (POR), BELOSEVIC, ILIJA (SRB)
Attendance: 10000
By Quarter1234
Maccabi Elite31242538
Skipper Bologna13172123
End of Quarter1234
Maccabi Elite315580118
Skipper Bologna13305174
Head coach: GERSHON, PINI
Maccabi Elite
# Player Min Pts 2FG
M-A
3FG
M-A
FT
M-A
Rebounds As St To Bl Fouls PIR
O D T Fv Ag Cm Rv
4 BEN CHIMOL, AVRAHAM 4:00 2 1/1 0/1         1             2
5 BASTON, MACEO 16:15 9 4/5   1/2 4 2 6 1 1 2 2   2 4 17
6 SHARP, DERRICK 12:15 9   3/4     1 1 3 1 1     3   9
7 VUJCIC, NIKOLA 24:30 9 2/5   5/6   1 1     2 3   3 3 7
8 PARKER, ANTHONY 29:00 21 5/7 1/1 8/8   4 4 3 2   1   1 6 34
9 SHELEF, GUR 15:30 2 1/1     1 3 4 7     1   2   12
10 BURSTEIN, TAL 36:00 17 5/7 1/3 4/6   10 10 6 1       4 4 28
11 HALPERIN, YOTAM 20:45 7 2/3 1/3     2 2 4 3 1     1 1 12
13 JASIKEVICIUS, SARUNAS 17:45 18 2/2 4/6 2/2   2 2 5   2     3 5 23
14 SUNDOV, BRUNO 6:30 4 2/2                     1   3
15 THOMAS, DEON 0:45                   1     2   -3
33 BLU, DAVID 16:45 20 4/5 4/5   1 2 3 1   2     3   17
Team           1 1 2   4           6
Totals 200:00 118 28/38 14/23 20/24 7 28 35 31 12 11 7 0 25 23 167
73.7% 60.9% 83.3%
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
Head coach: REPESA, JASMIN
Skipper Bologna
# Player Min Pts 2FG
M-A
3FG
M-A
FT
M-A
Rebounds As St To Bl Fouls PIR
O D T Fv Ag Cm Rv
4 MOTTOLA, HANNO 19:45 7 2/6 1/2     3 3 1   1   3 4 2  
5 BASILE, GIANLUCA 35:15 10 1/1 2/6 2/4 1 1 2   1 3     4 4 4
6 MANCINELLI, STEFANO 16:45 3 1/2 0/1 1/2 2 1 3 1   1     2 1 2
7 BELINELLI, MARCO 14:15 3 0/2 1/3                 1     -2
8 SMODIS, MATJAZ 14:15 2 1/2 0/1         1 1 1     3 1 -1
12 POZZECCO, GIANMARCO 18:00 10 1/2 1/3 5/7       3   4     3 3 4
13 VUJANIC, MILOS 21:15 21 5/8 2/3 5/6   3 3 1       1 2 6 23
14 VAN DEN SPIEGEL, TOMAS 8:30 3 1/2   1/2   1 1         1 2 1  
15 LORBEK, ERAZEM 13:30 7 3/3   1/1 1 1 2             1 10
18 GUYTON, ARTHUR JAMES 10:15   0/1 0/1   1   1               -1
19 PRATO, PATRICIO 0:45 2 1/1                         2
20 DELFINO, CARLOS 27:30 6 2/6 0/4 2/2 2 2 4 1 1 2   1 3 5 3
Team           3   3   8         1 12
Totals 200:00 74 18/36 7/24 17/24 10 12 22 8 11 12 0 7 23 25 56
50% 29.2% 70.8%
This game is not yet played

Head Coaches

GERSHON, PINI
Maccabi Elite
"I cannot make much comment on the game other than you just have to check our shooting percentages. This is a game of players, and they did an excellent job. I kept the Shabbatz and skipper the practice. Fortunatelt, the coaches changed all plays and the players duid everything wrong (laughs). They made the job after a long, tough season with many wins at the buzzer. It was an easy win today. We deserved the championship."
REPESA, JASMIN
Skipper Bologna
"It's difficult to say what happened, you all saw the game. After the first quarter, the game was over. In this atmosphere, it was very hard for my teams to play. I am also disappointed because I broke two records with Skipper, my team lost by 44 points and we had never got 114 points in only 40 minutes. We opened the game very badly even as I put my most experienced players in the starting five. But this atmosphere and the quality of the rival were too much for us to overcome. Congratulations to Maccabi, the team, the club, the fans and the organization of the Final Four.We had prepared the game really well and I wanted to stop their transition and fastbreak. However, they played great pick and roll and all their players did it well. I don't want to underestimate their matchup zone defense but I think it was not the key. We can lose a game, of course, but not in this way."

Players

PARKER, ANTHONY
Maccabi Elite
"I am so happy, man and to do like this in front of our fans who have been supporting us all year. We had our ups and downs. I want to give them a lot of credit. They were wonderful. This victory is painted yellow, for them. The MVP, I don't deserve it. We had so many guys play so hard, it's a team effort. I am just so happy right now, I don't know what to say. Skipper is a great team. We jumped on them from the beginning and I think they were a young team without experience in this kind of situation, certainly in this atmosphere. I thought the keys came at the end of the first and second quarters when we hit the last shots and that kept the lead in the 20-point range. From there on, it was just great, great fun being a part of all this."
JASIKEVICIUS, SARUNAS
Maccabi Elite
"We played such a great game! I respect Skipper and the capabilities they have as a team, they have shown what they can do all season long. This is an amazing feeling, team effort was the key, this team has worked a lot for thios, starting with my teammates and coaches and ending with a great organization like Maccabi is. When you put a lor together, it is pretty fair to say we are the Euroleague Champions."
BURSTEIN, TAL
Maccabi Elite
"It's an amazing feeling. A great, great moment. Really unbelievable. The atmosphere was incredible. Everyone on the team gave 200 percent. I didnt expect anything like this. I was afraid of this game, but from the start we got going strong and never stopped. It's a night I'll never forget."
SHELEF, GUR
Maccabi Elite
"If this is not a perfect game I don't know what is. A friend of mine called me before the game and told me that we'd win by more than 20 points and the fourth quarter would be garbage time. I told him that there was no way it was going to happen this way. i guess I was wrong. If it was up to me I'd keep this entire roster for the next season as well, but obviously it's up for the management. When I first stepped into the office of Shimon Mizrahi I promised him that I'd bring him a European Championship. So far I won two, and I sure hope this is not the last one. We jumped on them early and shot great from the first minute. We knew that Skipper is an excellent team, with excellent players and an excellent coach so we never let up. They were capable of coming back at every time but everything clicked for us because we just kept going at them. The difference between this time and the last time we played them was that there was a Euroleague trophy at stake this time so it was a totally different game for us. This atmophere is what we're used to so we could use it to our advantage"
BASTON, MACEO
Maccabi Elite
"We were on them from the jump and just didn't let go. From the opening tip, our defense was the key. We were up by more than 20 at halftime and we felt like we just couldn't miss. To be ahead by 20 points at home with the support that we had we knew we couldn't let up, that it was ours. I think that we got the gitters out in our game against CSKA so we were just ready to play tonight. You could have brought the Lakers or the Spurs in here tonight and we still would have wupped them."
BLU, DAVID
Maccabi Elite
"This is a dream come true. I can't say it any other way, a dream come true. To have a special game like this on the most important day of the year, you cannot ask for anything better."
BASILE, GIANLUCA
Skipper Bologna
"We didn't play bad. I wish we played bad. We just didn't play at all. It was worse than having a bad game. There was only one team on the court tonight. We're proud to have arrived at this point, but it's frustrating to lose in this way. We knew they'd play well and we knew we had to stop them from doing certain things, but they never missed their shots early on. They got their confidence, their public never let up and it was over."
MOTTOLA, HANNO
Skipper Bologna
"They scored about 20 points in the first five minutes and we had a chance to come back but we were selfish. All of us. We played bad on offense. We made them look like a good defensive team with out selfishness."
POZZECCO, GIANMARCO
Skipper Bologna
"There was no team tonight. They played the perfect game. They were unbeatable tonight. The pressure actually worked in their favor. It's not true what people said before the game that we had no pressure on us. The idea that we had nothing to lose just isn't true. We lost the game tonight because all the pressure that they had on them turned out to actually be pushing them forward together. They played for each other, they played for their public, that's the pressure they had on them. I think you have to see the cup as half full in this case. We arrived here. That's an accomplishment, but it was just a hard night."
GUYTON, ARTHUR JAMES
Skipper Bologna
"There were two totally different teams out there tonight. One team played together. One team was just individuals. We didn't play together at all. Do I feel embarassed? Yeah, I feel embarassed for my team, myself, my family. I don't like to lay down and that's what we did tonight. They hit us early, and we never reacted. At hafltime, coach said he wanted guys on the floor who would compete and make it a game. They were full of guys ready to compete, but we never ever started to play."
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