Savo Milosevic, sports director of Telekom Bonn, was the representative of the German team that attended the draw for the Final Four of the BCL Málaga 2023 on Tuesdayin which his team was matched with Unicaja, while the other semifinal will be played by Hapoel Jerusalem and Lenovo Tenerife.
Milosevic was excited about the four-player event that will be played at the Martín Carpena Palace from May 12 to 14, although he is aware of the difficulty involved in having Unicaja, host of the event, face off.
“No rival that was in the hype was easy. We came prepared to win the tournament. You have to beat the best. We are happy with this challenge. Our goal is of course to win. We have a special group, we showed great character coming back from the quarterfinal series against SIG Strasbourg after losing the first match,” he said.
The representative of the rival cashier was also quick to take off all the pressure and focus it on Unicaja. “We are very confident in ourselves. we have nothing to lose since we are the new. Unicaja is an incredible rival that will play with its fans. We really want to, we don’t have stars, any player can get out of a game. It is difficult to say who is the favourite, it could be Unicaja due to their great season winning the Copa del Rey and having their fans cheering them on, but You have to see what effect the pressure of being a host has on them,” assured.
Regarding Unicaja, Milosevic complimented the compositor team a lot. “The best thing about Unicaja is that it is a squad with a lot of seniority, they have several players at each position with experience at this level. Also a great trainer. They are having a great season, we have a lot of respect for them, we have been following them for a long time. We need to stop their Montenegrin player (laughs). It will be interesting to see two very frenetic teams play with a lot of possession and a lot of shooting from outside. We hope to have all our players healthy and to be able to experience a great basketball party.”
In his exchange of impressions with the media, he also revealed that the presence of German fans will not be very numerous, or at least those are the forecasts made by the Bonn team. “The forecast is that we will have between 200 and 300 fans of our team in the stands.”.
López Nieto: “We have a 25% chance of winning the BCL”
The president of Unicaja, Antonio Jesús López Nietoalso spoke very cautiously of the semi-final duel against the German team: «I didn’t have any favourites, maybe I didn’t want Tenerife, but not because I underestimated Bonn or Hapoel, who have an equal level. But, because we have seen each other many times this season with TenerifeThere are two of us, we’ll probably see each other in the playoffs, we’re fighting for fourth and fifth place, so we’ll see each other again.”
Regarding the pressure of playing the Final Four at home, the president believes that it will be positive: «Playing at Carpena is always a plus, we are used to playing at home. We go with the intention of winning, but I don’t want people to relax, to know that these are very difficult games, but obviously we go like every game, to win.”
López Nieto does not consider that Unicaja is the favorite to win this Basketball Champions League. “We have a 25% chance, we have a Carpena that I hope will support us, but clearly favorites nothing. We are going to fight every game, I think that we are clear about that from the club. I am very convinced that Ibon is a man with great prudence, we are going to go out and compete, but nothing is clear favorites, “he declared.
Juanma Rodríguez: “Playing at Carpena is an incredible incentive”
For his part, Juanma Rodríguez, sports director of Unicaja, also spoke very respectfully of the Bonn team. “Any rival that would have touched us would have been very difficult. We are four teams that have had a very good regular league, Round of 16 and play off. A Bonn is a team that we have followed a lot, one of the few teams that remained undefeated in the competition, leading the German League with Euroleague teams, such as Bayern and Alba. A very well trained team, a long team, with aggressive basketball. You have to be prepared to play a Final Four. There is still a long way to go, let’s hope we all arrive physically well. Closer to the event it will be easier to make an assessment of how the teams arrive“, he stated.
“Telekom Bonn’s numbers give them away, they are excellent in the BCL and also in the German League. It is a long team, with a very good player like TJ Shorts. Many Americans who are capable of defending, scoring and rebounding. They play very dynamic, defend hard… It will be a very dangerous team”, indicated Rodríguez.
Regarding the good moment of the greens, Juanma assured: “The team is in a very good line, they have won many games, you know that it is not easy, now it seems normal but it is not. We got into the Final Four and we want to play against our people. We come from a week in which we have won two away games and we give these two games a lot of normality, but it is very difficult to win away from home, on pitches like these. We would like to continue in that line.”
For the green sports director, playing the Final Four at Carpena “is an incredible incentive.” “We are going to take it naturally, everyone would have signed to play in Malaga instead of doing it in Jerusalem. We must enjoy the public, the club. Let’s hope it doesn’t affect us too much. The uncertainty that existed before the decision of the BCL election now we are all delighted that it is here and not having gone to Jerusalem or Athens. It must be a factor that helps us. That’s how we have to think about it. Playing in front of family members, a lot of people we know, is an incredible incentive for everyone, we’ve already seen it throughout the year that it’s very difficult for us to lose here. But there is pressure, we are local, it is a Final Four. There are some components there that we will have to manage very well. Hopefully we can repeat Badalona, but it will be very difficult. There are three very good rivals, starting with Bonn, whom we respect a lot,” Rodríguez concluded.