|05 December 2012|
|Gaz Metan Medias have made significant steps in putting Romanian domestic basketball back on the European map|
When Gaz Metan Medias registered their fourth win in Regular Season Group D on Tuesday night, they did much more than securing a place in the Last 16 of the EuroChallenge.
Medias defeated the Estonians of Tartu Rock, 81-58, in front of an enthusiastic crowd in their modest-sized arena to accomplish perhaps the biggest feat of Romanian men's basketball in recent years.
Their head coach, Marcel Dan Tenter, was over the moon after the game.
"It is a historical achievement for both Gaz Metan and Romanian basketball," he said.
"We have qualified and are very happy. We entered this competition to play quality basketball and try to win every single game.
"I think today was a new team was born in Medias."
After a balanced first quarter on Tuesday, the hosts started pulling away in the second period, built a seven-point cushion by half-time and never looked back.
Their coach however lived every single moment with so much intensity that he barely noticed his team killed off the opposition way before the final buzzer.
"I feel so exhausted," Tenter admitted.
"Honestly, I didn't realise the difference had reached 20 points until the end.
"I lived it as if it was one point [lead] for us or for them.
"It was hard, we was under pressure because we've had a very good EuroChallenge campaign and this was our big chance.
"If we also compare ourselves with other the other teams' budgets, then we realize that this was a chance that had to bare fruit, because it doesn't come around very often.
"I am very happy for my players, especially since we went through some very difficult times together.
"We had important victories, painful defeats and this win came at the most important moment for us."
The Tuesday game was also a direct clash of playing styles.
Medias have the most productive offence in the group and one of the best in the EuroChallenge, while Tartu were the best defensive side in the group and fifth overall, out of 32, in the competition.
"Let us not forget that we met a physical team that practices full-court pressing almost during 40 minutes," Tenter said.
"We scored both in transition, we forced our opponents to commit mistakes with aggressive defence and scored on the fast break.
"I'll tell you frankly, I treated this game like a final.
"Every player who stepped on the floor fought for every ball, which is why rebounds were in our favour, 42-31.
"When I saw the difference in rebounds, 42-20 to Tartu, after the game in Estonia, I thought the statisticians had done something wrong."
Amid all the jubilation though, there is a big concern for Tenter when he gazes upon the road ahead - the depth of his squad.
The coach has relied heavily on seven players since the start of the season, although on Tuesday he looked towards his bench more often and tried to share playing time around in an effort to sustain the high rhythm of the game.
"It's hard, because at the moment we're fighting on three fronts and we feel the fatigue," he said.
"I need to stress that you cannot fight on several fronts unless you have at least 10 players close in rotation time.
"It is impossible to go far in European and domestic competitions with just seven or eight players."