Fenerbahce, Jasikevicius: “We were not ourselves, congratulations to Panathinaikos”

Fenerbahce, Jasikevicius: “We were not ourselves, congratulations to Panathinaikos”

The words of coach Sarunas Jasikevicius at the end of the game against Panathinaikos in the EuroLeague: This is how he commented on the performance of his Fenerbahce team.

After Fenerbahce’s loss to Panathinaikos, coach Sarunas Jasikevicius gave his usual post-game interview to EuroLeague TV. These are his statements.

Jasikevicius’ words: “Congratulations to Panathinaikos, I’m still proud of my guys for making it to the Final Four. They played a great defensive game, we didn’t move the ball much, when we did move the ball we couldn’t shoot and make a basket. We were not ourselves.”

Jasikevicius at the press room

The comment on the match: “I congratulate Ergin Ataman and Panathinaikos. Compared to us, they played like themselves. I have great respect for them. This EuroLeague season is over for us. I am very proud of my players and congratulate them. We managed to get to the Final Four when we were in a complicated situation a few months ago. If you look at the game, we were good defensively. We did not concede many easy points. But unfortunately in attack we were horrible. Horrible! We couldn’t move the ball. Even when we moved the ball and found solutions, we could not score. We were not able to translate our preparation on the field against their defence with man changes, which we practise every day. At this point, when things got complicated, we also started to force too much. It’s a very difficult defeat to digest, but we have to pick ourselves up. I repeat, I congratulate my players. It’s obvious that this defeat will hurt us, but we must get up again”.

On the choice of the starting five: “I do not agree that the starting five was not helped. We had players like Guduric and Sestina on the bench. Of course, when things get tougher, coaches tend to go back to the line up they feel most comfortable with and that brought them to this point. I cannot say that we ran out of gas. If you look at the minutes of the Panathinaikos players, you will see that they played longer than we did.”

On the motivations for the defeat: “In this type of match, if you ask yourself why you lost, you will find many reasons. Throughout the match we considered whether or not to change our defence. But the defensive statistics were good. The stats on defensive two-man games were unbelievable. If we consider that there were Nunn-Lessort and Sloukas- Lessort attacking us, those stats were very good for us. But if we look at the attack, this performance reminded me of the fourth game of the series against Monaco. We didn’t move the ball much, we dribbled constantly. When we played with a small five, we couldn’t take advantage of the man changes. Nigel played as a ‘five’ and should have attacked more on defensive changes. Their small players did not hesitate to change because they were good defenders. But we didn’t do our job”.

If the Fenerbahce roster lacks superstars: “We have very good players. I don’t understand why they are not called superstars, but we have top players in our team. I was absolutely convinced that Fenerbahçe would make it to the Final Four and that they would have a chance to become champions. I was not questionable. But losing is not a tragedy. Every time you get to the Final Four, you are two games away from the championship. It means you are very close. We failed to play our best basketball, the basketball that brought us this far. I don’t care about next year, what counts is the present. Of course, as a coach and with our general manager, we will do everything we can to improve the team. However, this was a good opportunity and we did not use it well. I am not interested in the future. Unfortunately, the future is now and our EuroLeague season is over”.

On whether the delay of the two-ball affected: “The game started late not only for us, but for both teams. Obviously it is a horrible situation. It shouldn’t happen at this level. But we cannot use it as an excuse. Panathinaikos was also affected. But that is life. If you had told me that at the EuroLeague Final Four half the fans would stay outside and the game would start half an hour late, I would not have believed it. But the last thing we do here is make excuses”.

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