Writing from Berlin: Oleksandr Proshuta/ email@example.com
Just by stepping on the court during the Euroleague semifinal against Lokomotiv-Kuban, CSKA‘s captain Victor Khryapa set a new record with 10 participations in Euroleague Final Fours. The previous record holder was former CSKA star Theodoros Papaloukas with nine.
And according to Khryapa those records are all about CSKA: “This record meansonly one thing to me — it’s the great continuity of our club with effective using of physical and mental resources. No one else managed to play in 13 Final Fours during the last 14 years. So it doesn’t only mean that we have good performances as players, it’s the quality of the club functioning in all aspects. Lots of people work for us and their job is invisible. For example, they’re making our trips better and shorter. And all these small things matter. My record is for sure the sign of a great club structure”.
Khryapa explained that this record doesn’t change his role in locker room: “The record is the record, it doesn’t put any additional pressure on me. But I’m the team captain and of course I have my own role on the court and inside the locker room”.
Sometimes it seems that the real season for CSKA is starting only during Euroleague Final Four. The experience forward doesn’t approve this point of view: “We work hard all season long to get into the Final Four, but we are starting to play at 100% much earlier. My teamates every season give all their energy, all their mental strength to get here. Yes, we’re frequent guests in the Final Fours, yes, people get used to our success, but every year we’re doing a hell of a job in order to play in Final Four. Of course, we want to win it all every time. This season we have a good balanced roster. Now we are one win away from our goal”.
This season Khryapa missed many games due to his hand injury, but now he is ready for big fight: “It’s rather challenging — to come back after missing some time. It’s hard not to participate in team practices, there’s no basketball in general. You need to work in the gym, work when there’s no one in the court. From a basketball standpoint, the comeback happened rather fast — my experience helped to me to do the right stuff in different situations. I’ve played only two playoff games, but I’m feeling good to go”.