Russia: Drucker Aims To Gain Upper Hand

By Andrew Bagguley, PA Sport

Ural Great Perm coach Sharon Drucker is confident his side can take the initiative in the EuroCup Challenge final by beating Khimik at their home court in Ukraine tonight.

The Russians booked their place in the showcase by sweeping Greek side Olympia Larissa in the semi-finals and now Drucker believes his side can go a step further and claim their first European title.

“To reach the final is a great achievement for any club,” he told PA Sport.

“It guarantees us a place in next year's EuroCup, which was our objective this season, and it also means a lot to the fans.

“Tonight's game is going to be tough but we have got good enough players to win.

“Obviously Jurica Golemac will again be important but all the players are vital tonight.”

Golemac, 28, was the team's star man in the semi-finals with 21 and 17 points in the two games, and has averaged 13.9 in this season’s competition.

Ural warmed up for the match by going 12-8 in the Russian Superleague with a 78-76 win at Spartak St. Petersburg.

But Drucker warned his players not to get carried away with thoughts of lifting the cup before the hard work has been done.

“I am just taking things one step at a time at the moment and planning for the first match,” said the Israeli coach.

“After that I will start preparing my team for the match back in Russia.”

Khimik reached the final by sweeping Finnish team Lappeenranta in even more convincing fashion and Ural will need to be wary of Croatian small forward Dubravko Zemljic, who scored 17 points in the first semi-final game and is their highest scorer in the competition with an average of 17.1.

Guard Aleksandar Subara will also be a threat after scoring 15 points in their second last-four game, but Drucker insists there are dangers all over the Khimik side.

“They have got excellent players throughout the team that are capable of hurting us,” he added.

“Both sides are capable of winning so we must be careful. But we are ready for the battle.”

The second game will be played in Russia next Thursday.

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