Efes eyes extending winning streak in Malaga
Anadolu Efes forward Kerem Gönlüm is challenged by Zalgiris Kaunas players during a Turkish Airlines Euroleague game. Efes meets Spanish side Unicaja Malaga in tonight’s big clash in the top-level European basketball competition. AA photoAnadolu Efes hopes to extend its four-game winning streak in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague when it meets Unicaja Malaga tonight.
Unicaja climbed to 2-3 with a sensational road win against CSKA Moscow last week, while Anadolu Efes is tied for second place in Group E at 4-1, the team’s longest Euroleague winning streak since 2005.
Unicaja has won the last three games between these teams, although Efes still leads the all-time series 5-3. This will be their first meeting since 2009.
Efes coach Oktay Mahmuti acknowledged that this will be a tough game for the Istanbul team.
“I always say all teams in Top 16 are very strong and every game is difficult,” he told the competition’s official website. “As known, Unicaja Malaga won in Moscow last week. They are aiming to qualify for the playoffs like us.
“We had a positively rising performance in the last weeks. We want to go on with this performance and go on our winning series. In accordance with our qualifying for the next stages target we must win this game,” he added.
Malaga coach Jasmin Repesa is familiar with the Turkish basketball, having won two Turkish league titles with Tofaş in 1999 and 2000.
“Without a doubt, they are a great team that could win the Euroleague, with a few superstars like [Jordan] Farmar, [Sasha] Vujacic or [Semih] Erden and a rest of the roster with very high level,” Repesa said. “For us it is a very important home game. I hope our fans understand our situation but, at the same time, I also hope that they know what I have been repeating these last weeks: that the team is really trying. It is true that we are not finalizing well, but I am optimistic. We need to win and it is important to start again against Anadolu Efes.”