Turkish duo looks to bounce back
ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Fenerbahçe Ülker started the Euroleague campaign with two consecutive defeats to Caja Laboral and Olympiacos. AA photo
Anadolu Efes visits Emporio Armani while Fenerbahçe Ülker hosts SLUC Nancy as the two Turkish teams will be hoping to bounce back from defeats tonight in the Euroleague.
The two sides will aim to climb higher in their groups in the top-level competition in Europe a week after suffering defeats.
Fenerbahçe Ülker fell to Olympiacos while Anadolu Efes suffered one of the biggest upsets in recent history when it was defeated by unheralded Belgian side Belgacom Spirou.
Efes started Group C with a big win at Partizan, but blew its advantage with the Spirou defeat.
“Last week, by losing to Belgacom Spirou, we lost an important advantage,” point guard Kerem Tunçeri was quoted as saying by the official Euroleague website. “Emporio Armani Milan is a new team like us. They have very good players. Because we will play an away game, we must play smart like we did at Pionir Arena. We will do whatever we can to win.”
Coach Ufuk Sarıca acknowledged that playing Emporio Armani in Milan would be a tough task.
“We will play at one of the hardest courts in our group,” he said. “There will be a good, quality team against us this week. It is obvious that every team can beat another on any court. To gain back the advantage we lost last week, we want to win against EA7 Milan.”
Fenerbahçe Ülker sits on the bottom of Group A after losing both of its opening matches against Caja Laboral and Olympiacos.
While Fener is in a must-win situation to avoid falling too far behind, Nancy, at 1-1, is coming off a very convincing home win against Bizkaia Bilbao Basket and wants to stay near the top.
Coach Neven Spahija is aware that this is a crucial match for Fenerbahçe.
“After two losses in the Euroleague, we have to play our best game if we want to win against SLUC Nancy, who played a good game against Bizkaia Bilbao and are undefeated in the French League,” Spahija said. “Hopefully, with better defense than our last game and the support of our great fans, we are going to win.”
Center Oğuz Savaş said the fans’ support would be crucial in Fenerbahçe Ülker’s bid to win.
“The SLUC Nancy game is one we have to win at home,” the Turkish international said. “Due to the fact that we lost the first two games, it carries great importance for us. Nancy is a good and strong team. We have to win this game and we can achieve this with the support of our great fans.”
SLUC Nancy boasts forward Nicolas Batum, who leads the 2011-12 Turkish Airlines Euroleague in assists (8 per game). Fenerbahçe will use the counter-force of solid defending forward Thabo Sefolosha, who was signed from the Oklahoma City Thunder during the NBA lockout.