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Ukraine: Kyiv See The Bright Side

29.04.2005

BC Kyiv did not capture the FIBA Europe League title their fans had dreamt of but coach Renato Pasquali is anything but downbeat.

The club asked me to reach the Final Four in two years, and we took second place in the first year
Renato Pasquali

The Italian, whose team led 28-18 early in the second quarter on Thursday night before watching Dynamo St Petersburg fight back to claim an 85-74 win in Istanbul, said: "We built a good team this year.

"The club asked me to reach the Final Four in two years, and we took second place in the first year.

"I would say that we should be happy about the results."

Kyiv had to overcome a lot of adversity just to reach the showpiece event.

They had injuries in the build-up to the game, with Argentinian star Marcelo Nicola having to miss training with a broken finger suffered a week before the Final Four and  Giannis Giannoulis twisting his ankle three days before arriving in Turkey.

Kyiv are accustomed to making adjustments, though, as they showed when key player LaMarr Greer returned home to America for a month earlier in the campaign with his pregnant wife, and children.

Nicola would end up playing well, anyway, pouring in 17 points and grabbing seven rebounds while Giannoulis had 12 points and five boards.

"I talked to the team in the locker room and explained that I was very proud of them," Pasquali said.

"They have to be proud of themselves, because if you look at the whole season, how many problems we had since LaMarr's wife had a baby and he left the team for one month.

"Getting second place showed a lot of improvement and we have to think about that."

The coach says that lessons can always be learned in defeat, too.

"It's important to be finals so when you play finals you have a chance to win, if you don't play finals you never have a chance," he said.

Marcelo Nicola (BC Kyiv)
Marcelo Nicola
"The more you play finals, the more you learn how to win. There are clubs like Barcelona who played the EuroLeague final five times in a row and never won."

Pasquali knows it is going to be hard to focus on the domestic championship now, with Kyiv among the teams vying for honours.

"Now we have to find energy to play the Ukrainian championship, which will not be easy," he said.

"Historically, the team that got to the final four and didn't win, they have problems in the home championship.

"Normally it's like this. I hope that we can react and rediscover our energy for the play-offs."

Pasquali can be forgiven if he and his players do not watch the Eurovision Song Contest, too, which is to be held in Kiev.

FIBA Europe awarded the Final Four to the city but the tournament was moved to Turkey as the Kyiv arena needed to be prepared to host the Eurovision Song Contest.

"I was disappointed for our supporters," Pasquali said, "for our fans to give them the chance to see a big event in Kiev.

"But then I told the team, `guys, it is much better because now we turn the pressure on Fenerbahce because it's not easy to play in front of 8,000 people in one single game.'

Kyiv beat Fener in front of their own fans to reach the title game.

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