Ergin Ataman: I did not do anything and the atmosphere was tense again

2023-06-07T22:04:37+00:00 2023-06-07T22:10:23+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

07/Jun/23 22:04

The Turkish Airlines EuroLeague early exit nor Ergin Ataman set to depart at the end of the season budges Anadolu Efes

By Johnny Askounis/

Reacting to Anadolu Efes rallying past Fenerbahce Beko in Game 3 of the Turkiye Sigorta Basketbol Super Ligi Semifinals, Ergin Ataman stressed his side’s determination and the opponents’ fatigue as the key parts for the win.

“It was a great battle. Congratulations to both teams. These are the Playoffs. Every game is contested with such excitement and effort,” he noted in the postgame press conference, “Playing basketball is not enough, it is necessary to also fight very well, to put in the extra effort.”

From losing Game 1 to a 2-1 lead with the best-of-five series staying in Sinan Erdem Spor Salonu and the chance to advance to the Finals with a third straight win against the crosstown rival.

“We have another game Friday evening. It will be the same. Tonight, down the stretch, our fans helped us very much. I congratulate them too,” said Ataman, “This series will continue the same way, it is obvious. Fighting, not quitting.”

“Many do not believe in us, but we do. We believed until the end. Hopefully, we will be successful,” he added.

“Fenerbahce was tired”

Ataman, 57, is set to become the next head coach of Panathinaikos ahead of the 2023-24 season. However, finishing the successful spell at Efes with a domestic league championship is the remaining goal, after capturing the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague in 2021 and 2022, and winning the BSL championship in 2019 and 2021.

“In the end, there was no tension on our side. Everyone always thinks ‘Ergin Ataman is creating tension’. But I did not do anything and the atmosphere was tense again. Let’s see who messed up this time, and who will be sanctioned. I was fined after Game 1,” he mentioned on members of both Istanbul outfits heating up down the stretch.

“In the last part of the game, we also took advantage of Fenerbahce’s fatigue,” explained the Turkish play-caller,[Scottie] Wilbekin was great for them today. We struggled to contain him in the first half. Then he got tired and we aimed him in the offense. [Vasilije] Micic, [Will] Clyburn, Elijah Bryant, they all did a great job.”

“We managed to turn the series with Fenerbahce being tired,” he said in conclusion, “It was not easy. We were seven points behind with six minutes to go. Fenerbahce had the momentum, but we came back at the point. This proves we will not give up in the series.”

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