By Achilleas Mavrodontis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The ending of Game 4 of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Quarterfinals best-of-five series saw Kostas Sloukas attempting to hand Olympiacos the win. AS Monaco and Yakuba Ouattara were relieved with the outcome. The 30-year-old guard talked to Eurohoops following Friday’s contest about the challenges of guarding the three-time EuroLeague champion and the last-ditch effort.
“We were all afraid, I think,” he walked through the anxious moments and Sloukas missing the opportunity to close out the series, “Me, personally, when I saw the shot, I thought it was in. And when I saw it miss, I was like ‘Oh yeah, this is our chance.”
La Roca Team holding on for the narrow win in Salle Gaston Medecin forced a win-or-go-home Game 5. With the quarterfinal opponents tied at two wins apiece, the series shifts back to Greece and the Peace And Friendship Stadium to decide which side will advance to the Final Four. Game 5 is scheduled to take place next Wednesday.
“I am excited to play in this game,” Ouattara told Eurohoops, “I love the atmosphere over there. I know it is not easy to play in front of such a big public with this atmosphere, but I am excited and happy. All my teammates are the same. We can’t wait to play in this game.”
A EuroLeague newcomer in Monaco, very few, not including Ouattara himself, expected the debut run to be extended to the Playoffs. Exceeding expectations but the last win required to compete in Belgrade’s Stark Arena for the championship is the next goal.
“So far, we are happy with our journey. But we don’t want it to finish now,” noted the Ghanaian-French guard, “We think we have the potential to go in the Final Four.”
Ouattara has averaged 2.0 points, 1.3 rebounds, 0.7 assists, and 0.7 steals per contest in the series opposite the Greek powerhouse.