|06 April 2006|
DKV Joventut coach Aito Garcia admits Friday's EuroCup Final Four opponents BC Kyiv are something of a mystery.
Garcia has no problem assessing the strengths of the two teams his charges could meet in Sunday's final, claiming both Russian sides in the other semi-final are stronger than any of those they face on a weekly basis in Spain's Liga ACB.
But he is less certain about the Ukrainian outfit, though he does not view them as being as big a threat.
||The Russian teams would be in the highest position of the ACB
When asked about the strength of the teams in the Final Four, Garcia used the example of ULEB Cup finalists Dynamo Moscow to highlight the superiority of the Russian league.
"Dynamo Moscow are in the ULEB Cup final and they are lower in the Russian standings than both Khimki and Dynamo St Petersburg," he said.
"The Russian teams would be in the highest position of the ACB.
"Of course I can't speak about Kyiv because the domestic competition they play in would be weaker than other competitions in Europe."
However, Garcia would be wise to be wary when the sides meet in Kiev, with their opponents beaten finalists last season - when the competition was known as the FIBA Europe League - and enjoying home advantage this time round.
"Kyiv have signed lots of foreigners - I think they have formed a very interesting group," added Garcia, who sees certain similarities to the progress made by the Badalona club and their opponents, especially in terms of player influx.
He said: "Even though we had most of our team from last year, we have had new signings like Elmer Bennett, Andy Betts, Robert Archibald and Lubos Barton - and they have managed to adapt well - and I believe the same situation applies to Kyiv."
Garcia has attempted to take the pressure off his players by insisting the Final Four game is simply another step on the road towards DKV becoming regular contenders for major prizes.
"Step by step we have improved, meeting objectives in different competitions and I consider the game in the Ukraine another step for Joventut returning to be a team that fights at the highest level in every competition," he said.
DKV will be without American center Aloysius Anagonye, who is unavailable after sustaining a fracture to his right fibula a fortnight ago.