By Rigas Dardalis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Basket is evolving into a religion at Bilbao and Fotis Katsikaris is its… arch bishop! After winning the Euskaltel Euskal Kopa, or the Basque country’s cap if you prefer, the… new faith will be even stronger and the Greek coach explained to Eurohoops.net what this cup is all about.
“It’s a cup with a special meaning, like in every autonomous region. When you see the bio of Juan Carlos Navarro, there is always a mention about how many times he won the “Copa Catalunya” and that applies to every part of Spain. Back in 2010, the first year of the Kopa Euskal, the game was player at Vitoria in a sold out gym, like last season at Bilbao. This season at San Sebastian almost 5.500 fans attended the game, because it’s a very important game for the local society”.
Bilbao’s coach clarifies that the rivalry between the local teams, doesn’t have anything to do with the atmosphere of similar games, let’s say in the Balkans. “It’s something completely different. Of course, there is a rivalry, but it’s like a meeting in Athens between neighboring suburban teams, like Panionios, Milonas or Dafni. The cities in Spain are much bigger in population, but there isn’t any kind of fanaticism, like in the games between Olympiacos and Panathinaikos, or PAOK and Aris. Of course, that also means that the significance of this cup can’t be compared to the Greek cup, or to “Copa Del Rei” in Spain”.
The Kopa Euskal started in 2010 and the team hosting the event has automatically a place in the final. This season Bilbao won the semifinal against Caja Laboral and on Tuesday’s final beat Lagun Aro 78-62.