|American forward Justin Cage has recovered from pneumonia and will return for Dexia Mons-Hainau|
Cage Returns For Mons
By Jeff Taylor
Justin Cage will return to the Dexia Mons-Hainaut line-up on Saturday when Arik Shivek's men face Leuven Bears.
The American power forward has been out of action the past few weeks with a bout of pneumonia and wasn't available on Tuesday when the Belgian outfit played at KRKA Novo Mesto in Slovenia but he has rejoined the team in training.
"He will play tomorrow," Dexia boss Shivek said to Basketball World News.
"And Justin is one of the most important players in our team because he is one of the role players that can do different things in our team.
"Obviously we miss him any second that he is not with us.
"Justin is a person who is very important for us on and off the court."
When asked if recent signing Ahmad Nivins, a big man, was fitting in well, Shivek answered: "Yes, but he will need time."
Two Games A Week
One thing is for sure when it comes to the Mons-Hainaut outfit and the EuroChallenge.
Nothing is going to be easy.
Dexia overcame a difficult start in the hardest pool of all, Group H, to advance and now they're off to an 0-1 start in the EuroChallenge Last 16.
Shivek says it's hard for all teams that take part in European competition.
"Look, it's tough but I have experience of the European games and of playing twice a week," Shivek said.
"I know that it's tough but one thing that we decided in our locker room is we're not going to talk about being tired.
"If someone says he's tired, he cannot play at this level.
"If you want to play twice a week, that's what you have to do, play with all the intensity required of playing twice a week and I think the players like it."
There was one other certainty after Tuesday's game in Slovenia and that is the quality of KRKA.
Aleksandar Dzikic's team, which won five of six Regular Season games in the EuroChallenge, is just one game off the lead in the Adriatic League heading into their game at home to CEZ Nymburk on Saturday.
"I believe everyone could understand how good they are," Shivek said.
"Yesterday, I spoke to the coach of Nymburk (Ronen Ginzburg) who is Israeli, too.
"They are playing KRKA this weekend.
"He told me, 'Arik, you sound very disappointed that you lost. But you have to understand that you lost to a very, very good team'.
"And I said, 'Yes, but I'm still disappointed'.
"And he said, 'You know, they beat us in Nymburk?'
"And I said, 'Yes, I know that they beat Cibona. I know their results'."
One part of the Shivek coaching philosophy is not to dwell on the negatives.
"Really we played well," he said.
"We played without Justin, without Ron Lewis, which are two very important players for our team.
"Look, I'm disappointed we lost, but I'm trying to take the positives out of this game.
"We know anyway that to play KRKA on their home-court in Slovenia is tough but look, the game went like this and we know that we could have done (won) it.
"And we didn't do it. But I have to look forward and at the good things from this game."