By Antonis Stroggylakis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
VITORIA-GASTEIZ– CSKA Moscow president Andrey Vatutin had seen the team losing in EuroLeague semifinal games for five times in the last six years.
Thus it was only natural that he felt a bit uneasy when he saw CSKA trailing by 14 in the mid of the third period of this season’s semifinal against defending champion Real Madrid.
“To be honest? Yes,” Vatutin answered when asked if he got any scared with CSKA down 14 in the semifinal against Real Madrid. “But this is basketball. Everything was up. It wasn’t minus 20 points. CSKA was in the game. It was difficult. But I’m so happy.”
This contrast of emotions comes in the same package with such a comeback win. Vatutin looked quite proud of how the players of CSKA won this game in the second half.
“It was an incredible comeback,” Vatutin said. “You can compare this comeback with Game 4 with Baskonia. But different level of competition. These were the playoffs and this is the Final Four. They [the players] showed great character. They showed big heart. They believed. It’s important for us to beat Real Madrid especially in this style.
CSKA will face Anadolu Efes for the EuroLeague crown. The Turkish team’s presence in the championship game has been a surprise to everyone, including Vatutin.
“It’s a bit early to talk about this after semifinal. It’s the Final Four. You never know. For sure it’s a big surprise that the Final game will be without Zeljko Obradovic, a nine-time champion, and without Real Madrid. Efes is in the Final. Nobody expected this in the beginning of the season. But this is the Final Four.”