Friday, September 22, 2023

Ibon Navarro: “We don’t know if Jonathan Barreiro will be able to be in the final”

Unicaja beat UCAM Murcia (74-79) to play the final of the Endesa Super Cup and Ibon Navarro He seemed somewhat happy at a press conference about the ability to overcome the problems faced by the university students. Real Madrid awaits in the final, but, as if the unknowns were not enough, the coach confirmed that “We do not know if Jonathan Barreiro will be able to be“.

To reach the final, numerous obstacles had to be overcome first. “We have been dominating it several times. We have gained 9 points of difference and coming out of time out we have conceded sets that have allowed UCAM Murcia to get back into the game. The lack of forcefulness in the paint, Nemanja Radovic playing between the lines has scored several baskets for us of yours. We are lacking quality in the first aid, fill the painting with bigger people. In the last quarter we made another push that seemed definitive with 14 points. Some comic mistakes have made us suffer in the end. They had a triple to tie. It is possible that with all the problems and tension, seeing ourselves with those 14 points made us think that it was won, and we were wrong. With UCAM Murcia you can never think about it. You have to give a lot of credit to their defense and intensity,” the coach analyzed.

Precisely, Unicaja found itself in the first minutes with three fouls by Dylan Osetkowski that “changed the game.” However, the coaching staff pulled out all the resources to stay in the game. “The role of Will Thomas, the help of those minutes of Ily, Ejim and Will’s minutes together have helped us stay in the game. “We have shown the ability to overcome all problems and are happy with the victory.”

One of those resources, perhaps unexpected, was Melvin Ejim: 9 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists. “He has traveled 42 hours and comes here, and does this. When a player like Melvin is in the national team, the coach changes and he remains surrounded by stars, it is because there are things that are not seen. He has the ability, with training and a half, bring us that competitive spirit and help us win.

Along with him, the point guards have continued to take steps forward. “It will be good for us if they come in. Alberto’s minutes in the second half were really good. “Kendrick tries to look for connections with his teammates,” said the keyboardist, to which he added: “As they get minutes on the field, they will get in more easily.” The problem tomorrow is not in the outside line, it is in other positions against the most decisive player in Europe -Tavares-.”

Moral of the semi-final

Despite the victory, anything could have happened in that last fateful minute. “We have relaxed, as if they were going to give up. It is not normal for Ejim or Djedovic to miss a layup, for Perry to lose a ball, for Carter to lose another ball… With what it has cost us, that’s it and it wasn’t there. It’s something that surprises me because last year we closed the games. It’s the first official game against a team that has played until the last minute and It is a touch that we have to learn from so that it does not happen again. Today could have cost us a lot of trouble“.

physical problems

Of course, this first meeting does not leave any great news on a physical level. “I have Marcos – a physical trainer – who has been chasing me for 10 minutes to show me things that are very wrong and very serious, and I don’t want to be alone with him. Let Djedo have 30 minutes and Will 26. Will’s 26 are not a problem today. We have already prepared him to be like this. I don’t know how we’re going to be tomorrow against the Yabusele, Poirier, Tavares… we’ll invent something“.

Final against Real Madrid

What are the chances of seeing Unicaja this Sunday with the sixth title in its history? “If we were the whole team, it is possible. I have seen them with a lot of rhythm. They were lacking success in the first half, as soon as they had it they controlled the game. It is possible to beat them, I don’t know probably. We are missing players who are very important to play against them. Were we similar in the Cup? Yes and no, there was David Kravish. You can think that in two months they will be more fit… and we will be healthier,” he concluded.


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