|16 October 2012|
|Ukrainian shooting guard Sergiy Popov will play in the EuroChallenge with Khimik Yuzhne for the fourth consecutive season |
There is an unmistakable momentum in Ukrainian basketball these days.
Maybe it has something do with the country being awarded EuroBasket 2015.
The national team players this summer clinched a place in next year's EuroBasket, and the Ukrainians are without a question a team that can go far next year under coach Mike Fratello when the Final Round is held in Slovenia.
The Ukrainian clubs are playing the game at a high level, too, and that includes BC Khimik Yuzhne, a team that is returning to the EuroChallenge wars on 6 November when it hosts Tartu Rock.
Other opponents in Group D are Gaz Metan Medias and JDA Dijon Basket.
Khimik are in fine fettle now, riding high in second place in the Ukrainian Super League, after an 87-79 victory over previously unbeaten Ferro.
Sava Lesic, Khimik's 24-year-old power forward, said of the triumph: "It was a very important win for our team because now we have three games on the road.
"It was a good game and we deserved the victory."
Coach Zoran Martic was also all smiles after the win, which has left his side with a 5-1 record behind Budivelnyk.
"It is very difficult to play against Ferro," he said.
"They have the best offense in the Super League.
"I know that when you're playing against Ferro, it's always a headache for 40 minutes."
Khimik stormed out to a huge first-half lead but Martic didn't feel comfortable until the final buzzer had sounded.
"We had a great advantage in the first half - 17 points," he said, "but I knew it was not enough to be sure of victory because 20 minutes can make a difference.
"It did, but not all of our luck changed and we kept the lead.
"As I said, this team cannot relax for a minute."
There is real quality in the Khimik side.
Among the players is Suad Sehovic, the third leading scorer of Montenegro's national team that went unbeaten in the Qualification Round this summer.