Fenerbahçe Ülker will try to bounce back from a bitter domestic defeat when it takes on Bennet Cantu in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague tonight.
The defending champion lost to Türk Telekom 83-64 on Nov. 13 to suffer its second defeat in five matches in the Beko Basketball League.
Fenerbahçe, however, showed a better performance on the European stage, winning its last two matches in the competition. It will try to maintain its form against Bennet Cantu.
Fenerbahçe Ülker center Kaya Peker said that the team will try to improve after a “bad loss.”
“We had a really bad loss in the Turkish League. We definitely don’t want that to reflect on our Euroleague performance,” the player was quoted as saying in the official Euroleague website. “I believe that we will get ourselves together in the domestic league however every game in the Euroleague is very important to carry us to the upper level. We won two games in a row and we want to continue this series by winning the Cantu game and the rest as well.”
Fenerbahçe Ülker coach Neven Spahija also said that the Italians will pose a tough challenge.
“One more time, after a difficult loss in the domestic league, we have to play against a strong Euroleague team which is consistently playing good in the Italian league,” the coach said. “We have enough power and quality to find a way to win and play better basketball. Cantu is a good team, we hope that will all our qualities we can win this game.”
Just like Fenerbahçe, Cantu is coming to the game with consecutive victories each. The clash in Istanbul is hoping for at least a share of first place halfway through the regular season.
The match will mark Fenerbahçe Ülker’s return to the Sinan Erdem Dome, where it thrived a year ago.
Sinan Erdem Dome will be the host venue for the 2012 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four.
Cantu has done everything right at home so far in its long-awaited Euroleague return. A road win now against one of the group favorites would make it all but a perfect start for the Italian team.
Fenerbahçe Ülker point guard Roko Ukic sat out the team’s Telekom game with neck pain and he is still not yet cleared to play tonight. Engin Atsür, however, may make his Euroleague debut.
The match at the Sinan Erdem Dome starts at 8:15 p.m. Turkish time.
In the other games in the Group A tonight, leader Caja Laboral will host Gescrap Bizkaia and Olympiacos, who won just one of its four matches, will visit SLUC Nancy.
Group B leader CSKA Moscow, who won all four of its group games, will meet Unicaja Malaga, while KK Zagreb CO will host Zalgiris.