Kevin Pangos, Zalgiris: 'It all comes down to basketball'

May 16, 2018 by Kevin Pangos - Kaunas, Lithuania Print
Kevin Pangos, Zalgiris: 'It all comes down to basketball'

I want to start by expressing how excited I am to be named to the All-EuroLeague Second Team along with my teammate Paulius Jankunas. This is a tremendous honor for myself and Janki. It's great to be acknowledged. But at the same time, it's a testament to our team. If we weren't winning all these games and in the situation we're in, guys like myself and Janki wouldn't be recognized the same way. We are put in situations to succeed because of them and I think this is amazing. I am happy for Janki as well. Now we have to go focus on winning some games in the Final Four.

As a team, we are pretty excited about the Final Four. There were some points in the season when we realized how good we could be, but there were also moments when we realized we have to get better as well. We had a lot of ups and downs this year, but I think we did a good job of improving every day and we got some big wins on the road, big wins against the teams in the top spots. It just continued to grow our confidence and we used that going forward. We also didn't think too far ahead. I think we did a good job of living in the moment and focusing on the game at hand, whatever the game was that week.

The playoffs against Olympiacos was an intense series for sure. I think that's what was expected. In the playoffs, everyone always cranks it up another notch. It was great for us to get the first victory on the road. I think that put us in a really good situation in the series. Coming back to Kaunas at 1-1, we just tried to use the momentum and the support from our fans and seal the deal. It was a great series for us; it wasn't perfect, but I think we did a great job of constantly getting better and better throughout the series, asserting our will and getting the win.

Brando Davies played a monster series. The two of us go way back. We were at rival schools in college, so we had a couple of good battles. I am pretty sure he wasn't a fan of me and I wasn't a fan of him back then, but it was all good competition at that point and now that we're teammates it's been great. He's a great guy, a great teammate and a really good player as well. Each and every day he comes in and works super hard, does extra and takes his craft seriously. It's never easy going to a new team with a new system, new expectations and a new role. It's always an adjustment. I thought he did a good job of working through everything. He played solid at the beginning of the year and now he's playing unbelievable and it shows that the work is paying off.

When we won our playoff series, everyone at the club was excited by the accomplishment. At this point in the year, any chance you can get to keep moving forward and to continue playing is big time. I was also happy for our staff, our team and even some of the veteran guys on our team who haven't been able to experience a Final Four before. It's amazing for them to be able to experience this. Everyone was just really happy. We celebrated, we enjoyed the moment, but quickly after we got back to focusing on the task going forward for the Final Four.

It's been amazing with all the support from the community. Everyone was excited when we made the top eight. And then they were even more excited when we advanced to the Final Four. So you can feel the passion for basketball in this country. It is at a really high level. Everyone has shown great support throughout this whole playoff process.

I think for some of my teammates it's been a big deal trying to figure out the ticket situations. Being from Canada, that hasn't been an issue for me. Only my mom and dad are going to come to the Final Four.

Our semifinal opponent, Fenerbahce, is a really talented team. They are the defending champs. They have talent all across the roster. And it starts with their coach, Zeljko Obradovic; he's obviously one of the best and most-experienced at this level. He'll get them ready. They have talented bigs, talented shooters, talented guards. And they play hard, so we have to be ready to match that. We have to play as a team, play to our strengths.

We had good battles during the regular season and I think this one in the Final Four will be even better. It will be a completely different game this time. Both coaches are going to figure out a game plan and might change some things from the first two games. And the game itself is 40 more minutes of completely different basketball. We have some familiarity from playing them before, but it' a completely different ballgame.

I am looking forward to enjoying the atmosphere in Belgrade. Who knows how often I'll get to experience stuff like this. All the off-court things should be great and fun, but at the end of the day, it all comes down to basketball. It's the same court, the same 40-minute game, so that's what we have to focus on for the weekend and not get caught up on anything else.