Ali Oop: Ringing In The New Year With A Win

07.01.2010

 4. Roel Moors (Antwerp Giants), 7. Alexander Seggelke (Artland Dragons)Alexander Seggelke is a guard/forward for the Artland Dragons of the German BBL. This season his team will compete in EuroChallenge and he will write about the experience regularly for FIBAEurope.com

Happy New Year from Quakenbrück!

All I can say about 2010 so far is that we started it off right on Tuesday when we beat Tartu University Rock on the road to clinch our place in the Final 16 of EuroChallenge.

It was a good win considering the possible distractions in playing a game like that.  There are no direct flights into Tartu so we had to layover in Riga both on the way there and on the way back.  Between that and bus rides to and from the airport it takes more or less an entire day to get there.  We left at 7 am and didn't get there until 12 hours later!  Plus it's always a little weird to play in a new gym, with referees you've never seen before.  I think that's why we struggled a little bit towards the end of the game, but we managed to pull it out.  We were up 14 or 15 in the second quarter before they started hitting some tough shots.  In the end we had to step up and make our free throws and we did just that.

For me it was probably my best game of the competition.  I scored 10 points and shot 4-6 from the field. I don't want to sound cocky, but I knew that sooner or later I would put the ball in the basket in the EuroChallenge.  On a team with so much firepower it's not really my job to score, and I just try to play tough defense and distribute the ball to my teammates. For the first four games that meant I wasn't scoring much, but on Tuesday I got some open shots and I capitalized on them.

So with one game left (against Wels) we've sewed up a spot in the next round, but now is not the time to slow down.  We'll play as hard in the last game as we did in the first five so we can keep our momentum going in the right direction and get into the most favorable group in the Final 16.

As far as the holidays go there isn't much to report as I only had a day or two off around Christmas. I used the time to go to Hamburg and visit my family which was nice and relaxing.  Plus I came home with a brand new iPod Touch, not bad.

For New Years it was just me and my girlfriend here in Quakenbrück.  We had a nice dinner and went outside for about a half an hour at midnight to watch the fireworks, but other then that it was just a quiet night at home.  

Oh, and you may remember that Tartu was the place I was looking forward to visiting the most when we found out who our opponents would be at the start of the competition.  Well I had a chance to look around before and after the game and I have one word to describe it-white!  There was a lot of snow, even more then we have here in Germany.  However, under that snow is a beautiful little college town and a place I'm very happy to be able to say I have visited.

See you next week.

Ali


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