Khimik Warm Up In Style

11.12.2007

Only one of Ukraine's two teams in the EuroCup warmed up for this week's big games with a win in their domestic Superliga.

Khimik showed their great potential by upsetting defending champions Azovmash in Mariupol, 86-80, while Cherkasy Mavpy blew a first-half lead and lost to BC Kyiv, 95-83.

Khimik were impressive against an Azovmash side that is wobbling right now.

The Mariupol outfit looks nowhere near the powerhouse that won two titles in Ukraine last season and narrowly lost to Akasvayu in the EuroCup final.

Heading into their game against Khimik, they had yet to lose this season in Ukraine.

With four minutes remaining in their Superliga showdown, Rodney Buford gave Azovmash an 80-78 advantage and it appeared to be business as usual.

However, Khimik took control and easily led the rest of the way.

Sasa Bratic (Khimik)
Sasa Bratic is one of Khimik's in-form players

Serbian players Goran Cakic and Sasa Bratic scored 21 and 20 points, respectively, while also grabbing seven and six rebounds.

Mavpy, who fell to Azovmash a week ago, tried to bounce back against BC Kyiv.

They took control on the boards and shot well to lead 31-25 at the end of the first quarter.

And Lebanon international Fadi El-Khatib showed his great skill in the second frame as Mavpy stretched the advantage to nine.

BC Kyiv returned to the floor a different team after half-time and played much better defense, though, and with Artur Drozdov providing a spark on offense, they won 95-83.

Ukrainian international Drozdov finished with 22 points and six rebounds while El-Khatib poured in 24 and Andriy Lebediev 17.

"We don't have as good a bench as Kyiv," Mavpy coach Andriy Podkovyrov said.

"Also, we started to make mistakes despite playing our basketball until the end.

"We have to play 40 minutes of great basketball to beat a team as good as BC Kyiv," El-Khatib said. "But we failed in the most important part of the game."

As for Mavpy's Qualifying Round opener in the EuroCup against Russian outfit Ural Great, El-Khatib said: "I don't know this team but I respect them. I'll play to 100% of my ability.

"Of course I've seen the games of Russia's leading team CSKA. But right now, I don't care if our rivals are on top or in sixth or seventh place.

"I think we can achieve big goals in EuroCup."

Cherkaski Mavpy face Ural Great today while Khimik take on Cholet on Wednesday.


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