|23 March 2007|
Estudiantes coach Mariano de Pablos insists his side must still treat Polaris World CB Murcia with the greatest of respect this weekend, even if they are set to be without talisman Marcus Fizer.
Former Chicago Bulls ace Fizer is likely to be out of action for two weeks after sustaining a thigh injury during last weekend's 81-80 defeat to Akasvayu Girona.
Losing the American power forward, who is averaging 19.1 points from 19 games this season, is a major blow for Murcia, but De Pablos believes they have more than enough talent to cope with his loss.
"I feel Polaris World Murcia are a very dangerous opponent," said De Pablos.
"They have lost Fizer, but without him they have only lost two games, against Winterthur FC Barcelona (in week five) they lost by one in the last second, while the game against Akasvayu was a very equal match.
"They were still able to win at TAU without him and this shows how competitive they are as a team," added the coach, who highlighted the threat posed by the likes of Terrell Myers, Kevin Thompson and Stephane Risacher.
"Polaris World Murcia are not only Fizer. They are a very dangerous team."
De Pablos has some injury concerns of his own as Estu look to continue their rise up the ACB standings, with Iker Iturbe and Hernan Jasen both fighting for fitness.
"I am worried because they are two important players and we are playing against a difficult team," the coach said.
"They are the circumstances and it is unfortunate, but it does not alter our preparation for the game."
Estu have won five successive league matches since De Pablos replaced Pedro Martinez last month to climb up to ninth in the standings.
The Madrid side have also booked their place in the Final Four of the EuroCup, where they will meet Spanish rivals Akasvayu on April 13.
In the ACB, Estu would improve to a 13-13 record if they can win at Murcia on Sunday, but De Pablos admits there are areas that his side still need to work on.
"We have to improve our work in defense despite the injuries, the team is excited and they want to have a good came against Murcia."