|21 May 2012|
|Milos Teodosic, Andrei Kirilenko and the rest of the CSKA Moscow superstars found again a reason to celebrate after clinching the Russian PBL title |
CSKA Moscow recovered from the shock of their second-half collapse against Olympiacos in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final last week and captured a 10th consecutive Russian league title.
Jonas Kazlauskas' side won all three of its PBL play-off finals games against Eurocup winners BC Khimki, including Saturday's title-clinching 90-75 triumph.
CSKA won the first two games, 81-62 and 79-61, respectively.
"We are happy to win," Kazlauskas said.
"Surely, it was mentally difficult after Istanbul.
"And our reserves helped us, they were great in Game 1 and helped the others to get back on track."
CSKA, who had already clinched the VTB United League after downing downing Unics Kazan in the title game on 3 May, 74-62, had to overcome some adversity to win the PBL title.
In the third quarter of their 81-62 Game 1 victory, superstar Andrei Kirilenko sprained his ankle and played no further part in the series.
They won Game 2 in convincing fashion, though, 79-61, when Nenad Krstic poured in 21 points.
Ramunas Siskauskas and Aleksey Shved each hit a couple of three-balls and CSKA were eight of 18 as a team in Game 2.
In Game 3, Shved had 18 points while Krstic contributed 17.
"We played numerous games against Khimki in my one and a half years with CSKA," Kazlauskas said.
"Besides, several Khimki players play for Russian national team and our players know them very well.
"Therefore, it was difficult to see something new.
"We had expected serious fight and we got it in the deciding game.
|CSKA forward Victor Khryapa considers this a successful season for the club, but for the one trophy that got away |
"As for our downfalls... Yes, we had bad periods in almost every game.
"But if we did not have them, I think it would be not so interesting to watch us."
CSKA veteran Viktor Khryapa says that he and his teammates had some ups and downs this season.
"This season was very unusual, starting with the fact that Andrei Kirilenko spent this season in Russia with CSKA Moscow," he said.
"The atmosphere in the team was excellent, especially for a team that was assembled last year.
"Except for the defeat in the Euroleague final, we carried out all the other tasks for the season."
Just who will return to CSKA for next season remains to be seen.
Among those being strong linked to teams in the NBA are Shved, a Russia international.
Khimki coach Rimas Kurtinaitis tipped his hat to CSKA.
"I congratulate CSKA on the title, which we couldn't take away from them," he said.
"If we evaluate the season as a whole, I can say that it was good for us, we accomplished our main objective.
"We won the Eurocup and got a ticket to the Euroleague. Of course, we must get stronger if we want to win in the Euroleague and not just take part."
Triumph Lyubertsy, who had a terrific run in the EuroChallenge, finishing third, fell 3-1 in their battle for third place in Russia against Lokomotiv Kuban.
Kuban won Game 4 on Saturday, 91-79.
Jerry Jefferson, among the great players of Triumph this season, was voted as the best center of the Russian PBL.