After we have previewed already the Thursday match-ups here is our look at the Friday games. It has to be remembered that the winner of the competition will earn a spot in the 2008-2009 season of the Euroleague, so there is a big goal at stake.
Well the day will start with the game between Dynamo Moscow and Turow Zgorzelec. Dynamo has probably the worst relation in Europe between roster depth and fan support. When you check the players that head coach Svetislav Pesic has one his squad, you may think that you talk about a Euroleague Final Four candidate: Travis Hansen, Sergey Monya, Milos Vujanic, Robertas Javtokas and especially Henry Domercant and Antonis Fotsis. But until now, the mixture has not worked that well as Dynamo is struggling around the fifth place only in the Russian Superleague. Unfortunately, the team’s website does not feature anymore new clips of their men’s team as it was doing on a regular basis last season, however, their women’s team earns a lot of respect too because of clips like this one. Our German readers may also have recognized the following ice-hockey fan song in the clip, in the Russian version.
The actual Polish top team PGE Turow Zgorzelec may be considered as a surprise at this level, but the game they displayed in the Round of the last 16 against BC Kyiv was amazing. A very nice roster without any stars but a 33 year old coach in the person of Saso Filipovski made it possible to reach the Final 8 in the first ever participation in the ULEB Cup. And what makes the story even more amazing is the fact that Zgorzelec could not play their games in their home court which only has 1500 places but had to move to the Czech Republic city of Liberec and its 7500 capacity Tipsport Arena which is used by the local ice-hockey (oh, once again) team or the local car tuning freaks. Well, let’s show respect to what Turow has done and also credit them with probably the best team logo of the ULEB Cup Final 8 competition.
The last game of the quarterfinals will be between Akasvayu Girona and Unics Kazan. Girona is actually the team of Marc Gasol. The younger brother of Pau is dominating at will in the Spanish league and earned multiple daily MVP awards in the ACB. The bulky center is showing amazing game this season with an increased basketball intelligence and a more polished play. Unfortunately, the recent injury of Fernando San Emeterio will hurt the rotation that still features 42 year old fellow blogger Darryl Middleton. Still, the addition of Erik Daniels in January gives the Catalonian team a nice boost and their last weekend’s win in the ACB gives them the necessary motivation to attack the Siberian giant from Kazan.
Unics Kazan is the team located in the Siberian city of Kazan and has probably the longest trip to Turin. However, when you check the roster of the team, you don’t need to catch a cold but start to get nice dreams. Darjus Lavrinovic, Jerry McCullough, Sergey Chikalkin and Tariq Kirksay are the names to be remembered. But the team struggled somehow to eliminate the Cinderella team from Germany Artland Dragons in the last round. Well, I hope that the team’s president Evgeny Bogachev, who is additionally also the Chairman of the National Bank of the Republic of Tatarstan, has ordered a chartered plane for Saturday as I think that Kazan will lose their opener against Girona.
Finally, what is interesting to add is that all games of the Final 8 can be watched live as online streams on the website of Eurosport. Here is the direct link.