Ergin Ataman (Panathinaikos): “Thanks to Giannis Antetokounmpo! »

Ergin Ataman (Panathinaikos): “Thanks to Giannis Antetokounmpo! »
Ergin Ataman (Panathinaikos): “Thanks to Giannis Antetokounmpo! »

Ergin Ataman (Panathinaikos coach): “It’s an incredible feeling. This evening (Sunday), we achieved one of the most incredible results in the history of European basketball. Panathinaikos returns to the top after being 17th in the rankings last year, having been waiting to return to the Final Four for many years… Winning the title with around 15,000 Panathina fans with us. After a crazy match, which we started very badly by giving them 36 points, everyone, perhaps you first and foremost, could start to think that this final would be very boring.

But we never thought about that, neither during downtime, nor in the locker room, ever. We focused on raising the level of aggression and defense. The game turned in our favor in the third quarter, where we held them to 7 points, then we kept control of the game. The last period we played perfect basketball. Real are undoubtedly one of the best teams this season. But as always in the history of the competition, the first in the regular season did not win the title, and we are the champions (he’s laughing) !

After the match, Krunoslav Simon and Vasilije Micic, with whom we won twice (the Euroleague, in 2021 and 2022) in Efes, came to celebrate with me. It was great. And thanks also to Giannis Antetokounmpo, who congratulated me and said I was the best coach in the world. Coming from a two-time NBA MVP, that makes me very proud. Because he didn’t say “of Europe”, but rather “of the world”. So… Thanks Giannis! »

“We may be tempted to think that a victory or a defeat dictates the success or not of our season. The reality is that I am proud of my players”

Chus Mateo, Real Madrid coach

Chus Mateo (Real Madrid coach): “Congratulations to Panathinaikos. They deserved to win tonight. They had a fantastic second half. Speaking of the match, it’s the final which concludes a very difficult regular season during which we did a remarkable job. Of course, we can be tempted to think that a victory or a defeat dictates the success or not of our season. The reality is that I am proud of my players. They always fought to achieve this double. We didn’t succeed, but we tried.

It’s not easy to follow through. We fought until the last three minutes. I must say that in the first half, we understood what we had to do against their defense. They raised their physical level after the locker room, and we started to lose our energy. We started shooting too much from outside. Kostas Sloukas put the most important shots in the hot moments which made the difference. We have two options today: cry, which we can do tonight, or get up. This is what we will do tomorrow, we will fight until the end of the season. It’s sport, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. We must show that the character of a Real team is to respect the result and to always continue working. »

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