By Cesare Milanti / info@Eurohoops.net
KAUNAS, Lithuania – “Embarrassing? That’s probably the best word that can describe that third quarter”, Chima Moneke said to Eurohoops following the team’s practice on Saturday, ahead of the 3rd place Final against FC Barcelona.
He obviously refers to the 27-2 massacre suffered by Sasa Obradovic‘s team against Olympiacos in the semifinal of the 2023 EuroLeague Final Four. “Very disappointed but it’s basketball, and it doesn’t take away from the season we had. Hopefully, we can learn from this and gain more experience. We’ll be better next year”, he also added about the disappointing second half played by the Monegasques.
Despite playing only 9:54 minutes and contributing with 2 points, this was the second straight Final Four appearance for Chima Moneke, after playing the Basketball Champions League Final Four in Bilbao in 2022. “It’s tough to say I was expecting it, but I’m not surprised”, he answered when asked if he was expecting all of that.
“I’m happy to be here, I’m grateful. I just hope that as I get more comfortable with the team I get a bigger role because I can do more. I feel like there are a few people on the team that feel like they can do more. I joined the Top-4 team in January so I understand, but next year I hope I can fly my wings a little bit more”, he went on saying about his experience so far in Monaco and his teammates.
After being asked last year in Bilbao what Manresa meant to him after losing against Lenovo Tenerife, the same question came after Monaco’s practice. Obviously, the focus was now on the Monegasque team. “It means a lot. I know I wanted to be here for a long, long time. The fans have embraced me and I appreciate that so much. I wanna be here for a long time, and I hope I can make that happen. Next year is gonna be a big one for me to become more of a fan favorite, and contribute even more”, he replied.
Finally, the 27-year-old Nigerian commented on his former teammate at UC Davis TJ Shorts, who absolutely dominated the Basketball Champions League this year with Telekom Baskets Bonn, being named Regular Season and Final Four MVP.
After praising him mid-way through the season in an interview with Eurohoops, he had nothing but great words once again. “That’s my absolute best friend. I’m proud of him, I love him. I was his biggest fan, but even I wasn’t expecting all of this. He deserves whatever he’s gonna get next season: EuroLeague for sure, if an NBA team gets him a chance, he deserves that too. I’m proud of him, I love him. He knows that. Everything he’s been going through this season makes me happy. I’m happy for him”, Chima Moneke added.