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Sylven Landesberg: An eye-opening experience
Sep 29, 2014
by Sylven Landesberg - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Hello again from Brazil. It’s been an eventful trip with some ups and downs. Our play on the basketball court in the Intercontinental Cup wasn’t quite what we hoped for, though it was a great early-season learning experience that will make us a better team down the road. Now the time we still have in Brazil after the games give us a chance to keep working together and hopefully to see some sights and get a taste of the famous Brazilian cuisine.
Rio de Janeiro is a beautiful place. It’s pretty much everything I expected. Our hotel is on the beach and it is a beautiful beach. The weather’s been very nice; there’s just not much more you could ask for. The first few days in Rio we were pretty focused. We spent most of our time here in the hotel getting ready for the games.
Flamengo was a tough opponent in the Intercontinental Cup, just like we expected. They are the Americas champion after all and I congratulated them on their win. We didn’t play our best basketball in those two games. It’s still early in the season, but out of all the games we’ve played so far, the two against Flamengo were not among our best by far. In the first game, we played some good defense, but they also missed a lot of open shots. We won by 3 points, came back and watched film of the game. We knew we needed to make a lot of improvements for the second game. And we did at the start. We were able to take away some of the things they like and were comfortable with. But soon their crowd starting fueling Flamengo. The atmosphere at the arena was incredible. It almost reminded me of Nokia Arena! They made a few runs at different points and put us on our heels. Even when we came back, they had some veteran players that made big shots and kept us from keeping the momentum. By the middle of the fourth quarter, we were chasing them and in the end just came up short. It’s really tough to leave without the trophy; we really wanted to return to Tel Aviv as champions again. But those two games are also a learning experience that will make sure we are fully prepared when we open our Euroleague season in two weeks against Limoges CSP.
There have been some changes at Maccabi Tel Aviv over the summer. We have a new head coach, although those of us that have been at Maccabi all know Coach Guy Goodes, because he was David Blatt’s assistant the past few years. There are also a lot of new players. For me this season is an opportunity to step up and play a bigger role, which I was able to do in the Intercontinental Cup. I love to compete and test myself against the best players. The Euroleague is the place to do that. When I first joined Maccabi two years ago, I was very excited to have the opportunity to play for Maccabi, which is a top club in Europe. Now I’m very excited to have a bigger role. I’m ready for the challenge and ready for this role.
We have a little bit more time in Brazil before making our next big trip to Cleveland for our next game. I will share with you some of the things I am hoping to get to do before then. I would love to be able to see Christ the Redeemer. That is something I see in movies and it looks like an awesome place to visit. The view from there looks amazing, so it’s really something I’d like to see. And Copacabana Beach. It’s one of the things I keep hearing about, so I hope I get a chance to check it out.
And of course there’s the food. I want to try some local food. I’ve never had Brazilian food before! Some of the guys travelling with us that have been to Brazil before have been giving me tips. What’s too spicy, when to eat certain foods. So I hope I will have it all figured out. If all goes well, I’ll let you guys know about it next time.