Anadolu Efes head coach: next goal is to be the national champions of Europe
'My players made history. They went down in the history of the club,' says Ergin Ataman
Anadolu Efes's head coach said the next challenge after winning the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague final on Saturday is to be national champions of the Eurobasket in September.
Ergin Ataman's remarks came during a news conference after Anadolu Efes won the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague championship for the second straight time by beating Real Madrid 58-57.
''After achieving this goal, I will also coach the national team. My goal is to win a medal with the national team as well. To become the champion in the EuroBasket 2022. I am concentrating on that right now. Turkish people should believe in it, '' he said.
Ataman said it was not easy to make it to the final but Anadolu Efes made history.
''We went through difficult times, but we never fell into pessimism or despair. Anadolu Efes has always stood upright. We have taken every step as a family to come to these days, we have always thought about these days. It's an extraordinary feeling. I'm very proud of my players. My players made history. They went down in the history of the club. They held a great organization. I would also like to thank the fans,'' he said.
Ataman said he is sorry for Real Madrid.
"I'm sorry for them. We know very well how we will play in the last quarter. Offensive strategies do not work very well in the finals. I have great players. We can solve the locked moments. My team is at the level of an NBA team. This season we did not play like an NBA team. But we played like that in previous seasons. That's all,'' said Ataman.
Ataman said that he is sorry for the Ukrainian victims as well as the athletes in Russia, in response to a question about Russia’s war with Ukraine.
''I am very sorry and very sad. This is never acceptable. Innocent people lost their lives. This is unbelievable. We are in 2022. It is unbelievable in this century. What is happening in the world of sports is also unacceptable. This is a really terrible policy. We will resolve this issue as we defeated the COVİD-19 pandemic. I am also very sorry about the sportspeople working in Moscow becoming the victims of this politics," he said.
Semifinal hero Vasilije Micic from Serbia, who made a last-second three-pointer to place Anadolu Efes in the final said he is especially happy to win the championship in his homeland.
''This is a great achievement for us. Really speechless. I cannot believe that we made it. I am extremely happy. I want to thank all the fans. I hope we made them proud,'' said Micic.
Forward Chris Singleton said the victory is for the fans.
''It's an amazing feeling. We just won it for the fans. I cannot explain how happy I am and how joyfully I am. I just want to celebrate it with my all teammates. We go down the history. Only three teams in history got to be two-time champions. That's just very special. That just shows your character. It is a great move,'' said Singleton.
The game is the third EuroLeague final win for Turkiye, as Fenerbahce Beko won the 2016-17 title.
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