By Cesare Milanti / email@example.com
BRESCIA, Italy – The past few days have been peculiar in Bologna, Virtus-wise. With Luca Banchi starting a new adventure on such a historic club’s bench, only a week was necessary to bring the team to the imposing win against Olimpia Milano, getting to the Italian Supercup final through the first Italian derby of the season.
Providing 13 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists Tornike Shengelia was by far the best player on Virtus Bologna’s side. “It’s always very tough against such a great team as Milano to match their physicality, aggressiveness, and energy”, he commented right after his team’s 78-73 victory.
Most importantly, after days of first adjustments with the newest head coach on the black-and-white bench, the Georgian power forward underlined what Luca Banchi wanted from the team, giving an aggressive identity on both sides of the floor to the whole squad.
“We talked about our identity with coach Luca [Banchi] before the game, and we want to be aggressive on both defense and offense, going with the flow and playing with a lot of energy. Today we demonstrated. Even though it wasn’t our best game, we kept our ideas clear and finally, we won”, Virtus Bologna’s number 21 spoke about the 58-year-old, who replaced Sergio Scariolo.
Touching on the Latvian national team’s head coach’s first steps inside this locker room, Toko Shengelia had nothing but good words. “Great feelings, everything’s positive”, he said without hiding the excitement for a new basketball year to begin. “We can’t wait to start the season both in the EuroLeague and in the LBA. Now we are all focused on tomorrow’s game whoever our opponent is going to be”, he added.
This was also the opportunity to see Virtus Bologna’s newcomers playing their first official minutes. Talking about Jaleen Smith, Achille Polonara, and Bryant Dunston, the 31-year-old praised his new teammates. “They have a lot of experience and knowledge, they bring positive things to our team. It’s still too early for them to be at their best in the first game, but I’m sure they will pretty soon adjust to the team”, Tornike Shengelia finally said after the victory.
PHOTO CREDIT: Virtus Segafredo Bologna