By Eurohoops team / firstname.lastname@example.org
Marko Keselj looked back to many bright moments of his career in a recent interview with Sport Klub and shared a previously untold story from the 2012 EuroLeague title game, with then Olympiacos coach Dusan Ivkovic and Vassilis Spanoulis at the halftime of the game.
“The nervousness was great and by the fifth minute of the first quarter. We were all under tremendous tension, it was mentally awkward to play. At one point, they broke away to 12-15 differences and at half time we were thinking only about how not to lose by 40 points. Duda then entered the locker room and all the time he was shouting only at Spanoulis, he even threw a board at him. He told him: ‘You are the leader and you need to raise the team, what does this look like?’ That triggered the morale of the other players because Billy was really the real leader. We decided to go out, ‘die’ and try to reverse the result. They controlled even the third quarter, they also led +19. When we realized that we had nothing to lose and that we had already lost, at that moment we all relaxed, we started shooting and everything turned in our favor. We saw our chance there”, tells Keselj.
The course of the game shifted in the fourth quarter, and Ramunas Siskauskas’ two missed throws towards the end served to write one of EuroLeague’s most thrilling finales. Keselj explained how he and Acie Law reacted when he missed the first of his two free throws.
“I remember the last two free throws of Siskauskas. Ace Law had just come to Europe at the time and knew little about European players and their characteristics. During the Euroleague, he always asked us if that someone misses throws. He once asked Navarro if he missed throws, he made such mistakes, and we laughed and told him that he missed the last time in 1994. He was sitting next to me on the bench and he was pushing me, he asked me if Siskauskas was missing, I answered that I don’t remember the last time he missed a free throw. The moment I said that, he missed the first, and the two of us looked at each other in shock.”
Then, Giorgos Printezis rose to the occasion with his now-signature one-handed shot.
“It was a trance. If someone asked me for a bet what I remember from those few minutes of my life, I wouldn’t remember any specific details – we jumped, we screamed. Presidents, sponsors, journalists, the audience came in. There was a general euphoria. We went to celebrate in the evening, but since the Greek championship was still going on, Duda told us that we could not celebrate until the wee hours and drink. We all took the bus together and we all went back to the hotel together. At that celebration, we were blown away emotionally and physically, it was not a real celebration. It was only a few days later, when we returned to Athens, that we realized what we had done. It was only when we landed that we woke up from that Printezis basket”, added Keselj.