By Nikos Varlas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The Turkish Airlines EuroLeague continues in the final third of the season, with all teams entering the homestretch and aiming at the best possible placement in the regular season! On Thursday night, Anadolu Efes Istanbul (10-11 record) are hosting EA7 Emporio Armani Milan (7-14) in yet another important game.
The home team is in eighth place (with the same record as Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul) and knows that each of the nine rounds remaining is like a final for the qualification. Milan has fallen behind and has an uphill battle to catch the playoff train, but counts three wins in its last four games and, in the first meeting with Efes, pulled off an impressive 105-92 victory! Again this time, the rivals on the two benches are both from Croatia, Velimir Perasovic of Efes and Jasmin Repesa of Milan.
Perasovic, born in 1965, is in his eighth season in the competition. He has served as head coach in the EuroLeague in Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz (two times), Cibona Zagreb, Valencia Basket and Efes, where he returned in the summer of 2016.
With an overall record of 84 wins and 69 defeats in EuroLeague play, Perasovic is a coach who likes fast and spectacular basketball, who gives freedom to his players, but who also asks for high energy levels, pressure on the ball and commitment to defense as well.
He has won two championships and one cup in Croatia with Cibona, a Turkish cup in his first term with Efes, the Copa del Rey with Baskonia in 2006 and, of course, the EuroCup title with Valencia in 2014. Baskonia’s amazing course last year is certainly another success, as they reached the Final Four in Berlin and lost the qualification ticket in overtime against Fenerbahce Istanbul. Perasovic previously coached Baskonia to the Final Four after taking over the bench five games into the 2005-06 season.
Repesa, born in 1961, is in his 12th season in the EuroLeague. He has previously coached Cibona, Idea Slask, Fortitudo Bologna, Virtus Roma, Unicaja Malaga and Cedevita Zagreb. Since the summer of 2015, he’s on Milan’s bench.
A lover of discipline, he’s a very experienced coach with numerous titles to his credit with different teams. In the top competition he has an overall record of 107 wins and 110 defeats. Repesa has won a total of 10 titles in his home country: four league championships and two domestic cups with Cibona, two championships and two cups with Cedevita.
Furthermore, he has celebrated two league-cup doubles in Turkey with Tofas Bursa, an Italian championship with Bologna in 2005, and last season he won both the championship as well as the cup in Italy with Milan. It’s worth noting that, as head coach at the level of national teams, he has coached Croatia and Poland.
We are expecting a spectacular battle at Abdi Ipekci Arena, with the possibility of a high score, and the guidance from the benches constitutes a battle in its own right, one between two of the most successful representatives of the Croatian coaching school.