By Johnny Askounis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
ERA Nymburk, a Basketball Champions League original, is no longer a secret in any capacity. The Czech club, under the guidance of Oren Amiel, will always push throughout every game aiming to take down its opponents both mentally and on the scoreboard. Successful efforts seem to be outnumbering the unsuccessful ones recently.
In Tuesday’s Round of 16 Group L opener, Nymburk beat Brose Bamberg, 91-87. It was a special game. Aside from the additional importance of starting the playoffs, consisting of an alternative approach via a second group stage rather than the traditional format, the visitors were coming off an undefeated Regular Season and Retin Obasohan faced his previous team, his first in FIBA’s premier European club competition.
“It felt great,” he said on beating his previous side, “Before the game, the coach was in my ear. He told me not to go overboard. The thing is I love this game. I love this team. No matter who we play and what game it is, I am determined and dedicated to go out there and play hard. Today, it happened to be my former team.”
The Belgian point guard returned to Europe prior to the 2019-20 season following his G League stint with the Northern Arizona Suns. He joined Bamberg and put up 9.5 points, 3.0 assists, and 1.8 rebounds per match debuting in the Champions League. Last October, he moved to Nymburk as one of the additions to the Czech-based squad. He has really upped his game since proving as much matching up against his former team.
“You don’t go undefeated in the Basketball Champions League without being a good team,” he pointed out regarding Bamberg completing Group F of the Regular Season at 6-0, “So, they came out here to play hard for 40 minutes long. I think it was obvious that it was a real battle.”
The German outlet was the only unscratched BCL team, with “was” being the key-word. The streak was snapped at the Czech Republic with Nymburk gaining an early advantage in the race for a Final 8 berth. The top two teams of the group, also featuring Casademont Zaragoza and Dinamo Sassari will progress.
“It’s a new round. It’s the playoffs. Everybody basically starts at a 0-0 record,” he said describing the immediate impact of the positive start for his team, “To be able to get this win and go 1-0, it’s great.”
“It was a hard-fought battle from the first minute. Coach told us that we have to come focused and ready to play,” added Obasohan on the opener, “I am just proud of everybody in that locker room because they came ready to execute our game plan.”
He scored 18 points in the first half and eventually shared a team-high 21 points with Omar Prewitt. Six assists, four rebounds, and three steals produced an efficiency rating of 23. His 15.1 points, 5.7 assists, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.7 steals per match paint the picture of his first seven BCL appearances this season.
“They made adjustments but that is the beauty of our team,” he mentioned citing the team effort needed in the second half to prevail. “Obviously, we have tremendous talent from top to bottom. I love being here and I am glad we got the win.”
The visitors were shorthanded but fought back refusing to simply give up. The team coached by Johan Roijakkers managed to reduce the margin of defeat with the four-point differential possibly coming into play later in the Round of 16. However, Nymburk and its trademark effort in every single play on both ends did not let the W slip away.
“A lot of 50-50 balls,” confessed Obasohan commenting on the extremely grueling aspect of the match, “That’s the thing, especially in these Basketball Champions League games and the playoffs, every single possession is important. We have to do a great job making sure we secure as many as those 50-50 balls as we can.”
Photo Credit: Basketball Champions League