|10 April 2014|
|Ernest Bremer: "My goal is always the same, to help the team win by playing well; I would love to fulfil my goal and win something with Gaziantep" |
Royal Hali Gaziantep veteran guard Ernest Bremer has credited team-mate Baris Ermis and coach Jure Zdovc for the reversal of fortunes the Turkish side experienced from November onwards.
Gaziantep, who will go up against Final Four hosts Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia in the second EuroChallenge semi-final on 25 April, had started their second season in the Turkish BEKO TBL with 10 losses in 12 games.
Zdovc took the reins of the team when they were penultimate in the domestic league standings and now the EuroChallenge semi-finalists stand at 11-14 and find themselves in the race for a play-off berth.
"We had actually fought well in most of those first 10 losses but usually lost the games in the final moments," Bremer told the official website of the Turkish Basketball Federation, tbf.org.tr
"Then the new coach, Jure, arrived and completely changed our perspective on defence.
"I think that was a key change in our attitude and the improved defence started bringing us wins."
One of those wins came on the international stage, after an epic comeback in Game 1 of the quarter-final play-off series with Tsmoki Minsk, which paved the Turkish side's way to the EuroChallenge Final Four.
Playing at home Gaziantep trailed their Belarusian guests by as many as 21 points but gradually climbed back and clinched a 59-58 victory that seemed highly improbable until late in the third quarter.
"At half-time, the atmosphere in the dressing room was very bad," the 33-year-old guard revealed.
"The coach was really very angry at us because we were not doing what we needed to do.
"We were very tense, maybe because we were playing in the EuroChallenge quarter-finals for the first time.
"I don't know exactly why, but in the end we managed to turn the game around."
A player that was instrumental in that success, as in many other Gaziantep wins since arriving on loan from Fenerbahce in January, is one of Bremer's partners in the backcourt, Baris Ermis.
"Baris arrived at the ideal time and is so skilled as a play-maker," Bremer said of the Turkish international.
"He has been a leader for the team, on both defence and offence.
"He's been making a big contribution since his first game and helped to reduce the burden on myself and the rest of the guards."
Bremer has played for several big clubs in Russia, Turkey, Italy, Spain and Greece since arriving in Europe a decade ago, but has never won a European trophy.
The veteran, who was naturalised in 2009 and suited up for the Bosnia and Herzegovina national team, hopes this will change at the EuroChallenge Final Four in Bologna, with a team that takes part in a European competition for the first time in its history.
"Quite frankly, I did not know what to expect when I came to Gaziantep," Bremer said.
"My goal is always the same, to help the team win by playing well.
"I would love to fulfil my goal and win something with Gaziantep."
|Peter Lorant had 19 points for Szolnoki Olaj in defeat|
SZOLNOK SUFFER FIRST LOSS
Meanwhile, Szolnoki Olaj, who will face Triumph Lyubertsy in the other EuroChallenge semi-final on 25 April, slumped to a surprising first defeat in the Hungarian First Division on Wednesday.
Szolnok travelled to surprise package Kaposvari KK and despite starting the clash in promising fashion, they trailed 48-44 at half-time.
The guests were then out-muscled emphatically on the glass and struggled offensively in the second half, ultimately losing the encounter 97-76.
Kaposvari out-rebounded Szolnok 38-27 and also made key shots from beyond the arc, drilling 11 of their 26 three-point attempts, while the guests went only 6-of-25 from downtown.
For Szolnok, who were playing without the suspended Strahinja Milosevic, Peter Lorant and Justin Holiday finished with 19 points apiece in losing efforts.
The EuroChallenge semi-finalists were the only undefeated team in the Hungarian league prior to Wednesday and now that their winning streak has snapped they have dropped to 4-1, while Atomeromu sits atop the standings with a 5-1 record.