|This is the third consecutive EuroLeague Women Final Eight title game that Fenerbahce head coach Roberto Iniguez will coach in |
By Paul Nilsen
Fenerbahce play-caller Roberto Iniguez has already stamped his mark on EuroLeague Women Final Eight history after clinching a third successive appearance in the title game, but is aware nobody is likely to care should he fail to take his team to the title.
The Spaniard is rightly proud of his accomplishment, but knows that just as quickly as the Ekaterinburg wind changes direction outside of DIVS Arena at this time of the year, his own stock can rise and fall just as rapidly.
He explained, "What can I say about making three finals in a row? Only that it is special for me and I feel very tired right now.
"I also know [that] when you win everybody loves you, but if we lose this kind of opportunity, then nobody will look into your eyes for a long time.
"This is being a coach in basketball and something you must always accept.
"The most important thing for Fenerbahce is that we continue to get to finals in all competitions.
"You can win some and you can lose some, but you have to get to them first - all the time I tell my players, finals, finals, finals and this has to be the only mentality.
"Our fans demand success and so do we. They are the biggest part of the club and we always fight for every single second just for them."
On the subject of winning and losing, Iniguez has of course experienced both at the highest level and in the biggest games.
Not only focusing on his own team, it was noticeable that he was particularly sensitive of the impact the semi-final loss had on two of his former players.
He said, "I felt so sorry for Silvia Dominguez and Ann Wauters, because you could see they were in complete shock after UMMC were defeated.
"They were my players when we won the title two years ago with Ros Casares and I think this is very, very difficult for them."
|Iniguez regards his Galatasaray opposite Ekrem Memnun with the utmost respect|
Now Iniguez will go up against another who helped him win the Final Eight Title in the shape of Sancho Lyttle - if of course the forward recovers from an ankle injury sustained in her side's semi-final victory.
He will also pit his wits against Ekrem Memnun once again and he admitted he has huge respect for his counterpart and especially after what Galatasaray odeabank did against UMMC.
He declared, "The clubs are big enemies, this is true. But, we are both coaches and I congratulate him for what they did in the semi-final, because it was very nice and they played great.
"Now we will go back to being enemies and it is hard to know what will happen in the final, because every game is always so different between these two teams.
"I am sure it will only come down to the very small details."
Fenerbahce have still not really found their groove, but that doesn't necessarily worry Iniguez.
He demonstrated that even when his key players are not performing offensively, he will keep them on the floor. Or at least if they are leading the team in other facets of the game.
He declared, "Cappie Pondexter did an incredible job in defence in the semi-final even though she was making no shots and could have easily been affected by it.
"However, she just continued defensively and this is the character of Cappie and exactly why I left her in the game.
"Yes, we continue to play with low percentages, but in the right moments my team believes in defence.
"This is why we have been able to fight all the way back to the Final again."