Galatasaray enjoys title that came after 23 years
Galatasaray Medical Park players pose with the Beko Basketball League trophy following a finals series vistory over Banvit. AA photoGalatasaray Medical Park enjoyed the club’s first Turkish basketball league title yesterday following a 4-1 final series victory against Banvit.
The Istanbul club beat Banvit 76-58 June 15 to claim the Beko Basketball League (BBL) title, Galatasaray’s fifth in the 36-year-old Turkish league and first since its title in the 1989-1990 season.
Galatasaray coach Ergin Ataman said he and his players were delighted to make history.
“We knew that the hearts of our supporters in the stands and all around Turkey were beating with us,” Ataman told reporters after the last game in the finals series. “Besides the title, we are proud to have taken our well-deserved place in the history of a giant club, we are delighted.”
Ataman said the Turkish league title was “only the beginning” for Galatasaray, whose football team has won the last two Spor Toto Super League titles. “This is only the Turkish title, but it is the beginning of Galatasaray’s growth in European basketball,” the successful coach said. “In time, hopefully, we will play finals and clinch titles on the European stage with the support of our fans.”
Galatasaray will compete in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague next season, Ataman noted, adding that the magnificent atmosphere in the last game proved that the club had the potential to be as big as Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid.
“After losing only one game in the last six months, this team has every right to celebrate,” he added.
No loss at home
Banvit beat Galatasaray 86-85 on June 12 to force the series to a fifth game. The win ended Galatasaray’s 25-match winning streak. Banvit was the last team that beat Galatasaray, which swept its previous playoff series. The team has not lost any of the 22 games it played this season on its home court, Abdi İpekçi Arena.
The title also put Ataman in the history books as the first coach to clinch the Turkish league title with three different clubs. The coach, who won the league at the helm of Anadolu Efes – then Efes Pilsen – in the 2008-2009 season, was also in charge of Beşiktaş Milangaz last season when the Istanbul club won the trophy.
Galatasaray chairman Ünal Aysal praised Ataman for the success. “We have had a very successful season,” the chairman told reporters. “Especially coach Ataman’s dedication, power and his support to the players have brought us here. We are very happy and we dedicate the tile to our amazing supporters, who deserve every kind of success.”
Galatasaray A.Ş. CEO Lütfi Arıboğan, who was the team’s captain when Galatasaray won the title 23 years ago, said he hoped the success would continue.