Efes seeks to defeat Germans for Top 16
Efes Pilsen Istanbul’s forward Kerem Gönlüm vies with Emporio Armani Milan’s center Samardo Samuels (R) during the group B Euroleague basketball match on Nov 22 in Milan. AFP photoAnadolu Efes tonight will host the German champion Brose Baskets Bomberg in a Turkish Airlines Euroleague Group B game, hoping to secure a spot in the Top 16.
Also tonight, Group A Fenerbahçe Ülker travels to CSKA Moscow, hoping to improve its performance of six wins and only one loss in the group stage.
Efes, which needs a victory against the Germans to make it to the next round, will be the natural favorite considering it’s 3-0 at home this season with an average margin of victory of 17.7 points. Furthermore, Bamberg is winless on the road this season. However, Bamberg edged Efes on Casey Jacobsen’s late three when they met last month in Germany.
Fischer and Velckovic’s return adds sparkle
Furthermore, the German champs have a slightly different look recently with the addition of shot-blocking ace D’or Fischer and the return from injury of the forward Novica Velckovic. Efes has also seen its frontline strengthened with the return of veteran big man Kerem Gönlüm from injury. The host has looked strong this season with four players averaging double figures in scoring, led by rookie Scotty Hopson, while Jamon Gordon has commanded the team at point guard and Semih Erden holds the fort at center. Jamar Smith provides instant offense for Bamberg, but the keys to the game could ultimately be how well Anton Gavel and Jacobsen hold up against Gordon and Kostas Vasileiadis in the backcourt.
Anadolu Efes coach Oktay Mahmuti expressed the importance of the game for the home side.
“Last week we got the result we wanted against Strasbourg and we want to go on winning,” Mahmuti was quoted as saying on eurolegue.net. “Three weeks left to the end of the regular season and the Top 16 calculations have started. If we win against Brose Baskets we are guaranteed to qualify for the Top 16 mathematically. First, we want to guarantee our spot and then try to do our best to finish the group at the highest row.”
Mahmuti added discipline will be key for Anadolu Efes to win the game. “We must be well disciplined in every minute of the game and must fight from the beginning until the end,” he said. “We have had a bad surprise in Bamberg in our first clash with Brose Baskets, but now we want to get a good result in order to help our step into the Top 16 and gain morale for the future games.”
Our last chance for Top 16: Feleming
The German club’s coach Chris Feleming noted his side wants to improve to have a chance for the Top 16 spot.
“This game is the last chance we have to control our destiny. We certainly played better the last couple of games and are looking forward to improve further this week. We know it’s going be a really tough game, because it is very close in this group, but we are excited about the chance,” the coach said.
Anadolu Efes player Kerem Gönlüm has not forgotten the last-second loss at Bamberg away last month.
“We lost in the last seconds in Bamberg, in which we led the whole game against Brose Baskets,” he said, noting the Istanbul club has a good roster despite minor injuries and will need the fans’ support against the Germans.
“We won our last six Turkish League games. We have an increasing performance graphic. I request the fans to not abandon us. We always need their support. Against Brose Baskets we want to step up to the Top 16 after a good game,” he said.