By Antonis Stroggylakis/ email@example.com
ANTWERP– After winning the 2018 Basketball Champions League with AEK Athens, Kevin Punter found himself not only celebrating a back-to-back title with Virtus Bologna but also capturing Final Four MVP.
Punter, 25, ravaged the Iberostar Tenerife defense in the Final with 26 points to go with his seven rebounds. In the semifinal win over Brose Bamberg, the American guard had notched 21 points plus eight boards.
“A-ma-zing. That’s how I feel,” Punter told Eurohoops while holding his MVP award. “I did it last year. To do it again this year, is a kind of different feeling. But still feels great.”
After grabbing an 18-point lead in the beginning of the second half, Virtus Bologna saw its advantage getting nearly evaporated by Iberostar Tenerife in the final lap of the match.
The Spanish team approached 65 – 59 with 94 seconds remaining. Kevin Punter and his teammates realized that this is far from over.
“With two minutes left we seriously had to fight. They were missing a couple of shots and they were on a run. We had to keep fighting and keep digging.”
When Mario Chalmers drained the jumper from mid range to give Bologna the safety pillow of a three-possession distance, Punter felt that the deed is done.
“Big shot. Big shot,” Punter said to Eurohoops. “When he hit that I knew it was over. I felt that it kind of killed them a little bit because they were on their way to come back. But then… he hit that.”
Punter realizes that he and his teammates had a certain responsibility to carry by representing Virtus Bologna in the Basketball Champions League. And that getting that trophy was something like an obligation that came with wearing this jersey.
“For sure. Anytime you can hang trophy up in a historic club like this it’s amazing. Because this club plays for championships. So we got to get championships.”
Photo Credit: Basketball Champions League