It has been more than 10 years since DKV Joventut have won a European title.
That streak could be snapped tonight if the Spanish club can take down BC Khimki in the EuroCup championship game tonight at 18:45 Ukraine time at the Sports Palace in Kyiv.
DKV had a strong run in the eighties and nineties which included a EuroLeague title in 1994 and Korac Cup championships in 1981 and 1990.
Recent times have not been so successful and a victory tonight would once again solidify DKV Joventut´s position at the top of Europe.
“It´s important because we are starting to become a good team again in Spain and in Europe and a win here would really show that we have returned to the top,” said Spanish coach Aito Garcia.
“It has been a long time since we have won a title and now we have a great opportunity to win a cup tonight,” added team star Rudy Fernandez.
Fernandez played a key role in DKV Joventut´s 88-78 win over the BC Kyiv on Friday by scoring 11 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter.
Khimki has the opportunity to claim their first European title. The Russian club from the Moscow region was created as a second division team less than a decade ago (1997) and two years later were in the Russian high league. In 2000, Khimki was promoted to the Superleague.
|Oscar Torres was the hero for BC Khimki on Friday night|
Last year was Khimki´s best finish in Europe when they made it to the Final Four and then were knocked out in the semi-finals by eventual champion Dynamo St. Petersburg.
“We have a chance to win the Cup which is always a good thing,” said Khimki guard Melvin Booker.
“Last year we were playing for third place so there will be a big difference for us this time.”
On Friday evening, Khimki won at the buzzer thanks to an Oscar Torres offensive rebound and put back that got off just as time expired and gave his club a dramatic 63-61 win.
“These are two very strong teams and so we have to play strong to come out on top,” said Torres of the championship game match-up.
DKV Joventut and BC Khimki arguably represent the top two leagues in Europe in the ACB in Spain and the Russian league.
“They have good teams, similar to us in Spain,” said Garcia.
“A while ago there were only one or two good teams, but now they have eight or nine.”
The two teams have played twice this season.
Khimki prevailed 95-66 in Russia and then DKV Joventut came back and won on their home court, 83-67.
“We both know each other,” said Garcia.
“We did not play well in the first game and lost badly. We beat them in Badalona, but they were already qualified and we had to win to qualify.”
DKV Joventut once again will be going without big man Aloysius Anagonye, while Khimki is at full strength.