By Vangelis Papadimitriou, adapted by Johnny Askounis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Opting to join Partizan NIS and spend the 2021-22 campaign in the 7DAYS EuroCup, Kevin Punter invested in the goal of the Belgrade giant returning to the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague. Forward one year, he launched his fourth campaign in the top-tier competition of Euroleague Basketball firing on all cylinders and powering up Partizan Mozzart Bet.
Punter, 29, talked exclusively to Eurohoops following the win against Panathinaikos Thursday evening. He scored 29 points behind 10/17 field goals, most of them extremely demanding. With the Regular Season Round 6 performance, he improved his season average to 18.5 points per game.
“I missed EuroLeague,” he admitted referring to the one-year break, “It is a great feeling to be back. We are talking about a top-level competition.”
In the third chance, it was the first away win for Partizan. Sitting at 3-3 overall, despite the 0-3 start. “It is always nice to win on the road. This is not easy in EuroLeague. Especially here. But we won,” he described the challenge of playing for the visitors at OAKA Altion.
“I just want us to be at the best possible level as a team,” he replied to a question about what the future holds for Partizan’s first EuroLeague appearance since 2014.
Backed by legendary head coach Zeljko Obradovic, success can’t be far away. “The coach told us to enjoy the game, to play our style,” he shared the pregame advice with Eurohoops, “That’s our job, but we must also enjoy the moment.”
It was a heated battle with the Greens extremely frustrated with the referees. Punter seemed to debate a controversial call with fans seated courtside but denied any such contact.
“I don’t know what happened. I did not talk to the fans but saw their reactions. I didn’t say anything,” he explained, “I don’t talk during the games. Maybe they were frustrated. Honestly, I don’t know what happened.”
Held to limited options, a second straight EuroLeague game in Greece follows for Partizan with Olympiacos coming up next Thursday.