Dusan Sakota: ''We're proud to write another page in AEK's rich history''
RIO DE JANEIRO (Brazil) - The FIBA Intercontinental Cup already has a new master. AEK defeated Flamengo, 86-70, in the Final on Sunday in Rio de Janeiro and with it achieved their first title outside of European frontiers.
Jordan Theodore was the MVP, who shone in this decisive match with 22 points, 5 assists and 3 rebounds. The American point guard with a Macedonian nationality was coming in from a long period of inactivity and had only arrived at the Greek club a month ago.
“I spent almost a year off the court due to an injury and because I didn't have a place later at Olimpia Milano. So now that I was once again inside a court, the moment I desired arrived. I wanted to show everyone that I'm still one of the best guards of the continent. I'm very happy for what my teammates and I achieved. The MVP prize is not something that really matters to me. The most important thing is to win and to get all group goals. The individual accolades are secondary aspects that aren’t achieved without the help of everyone else in the team,” said Theodore.
AEK is currently going through a glorious period. In the 2017-2018 season they won the Greece Cup and the Basketball Champions League. And now, at Rio de Janeiro’s Arena Carioca 1, they raised the Intercontinental Cup.
“I'm very happy to have achieved this trophy. This last year has been very successful for us and we want to keep up that path. The way of doing so is to train every day to be better,” said Giannoulis Larentzakis, who contributed 10 points against Flamengo.
Meanwhile, Dusan Sakota, who contributed 11 points, commented: "We're proud to have written another page in our club's rich history. This is the first title of our club at a world level, so for us this is something very big. We wanted this very much - not only to go to the history books, but so that it also helps us during the rest of the season, which will be very difficult."
This Intercontinental Cup is the 16th title in AEK's history. Previously they had achieved 8 Greek Leagues, 4 Greek Cups, 1 Europeans Champions Cup, 1 FIBA Saporta Cup, and recently, the Basketball Champions League.
For Larentzakis this is "the most transcendent title in the history of AEK because to get here we had to win the Basketball Champions League, which was also very important. We must value each championship the club wins."
Meanwhile, Sakota argued: "Each title has its importance within the moment that it’s achieved. I can't say if it's more valuable that other previous club conquests. Each one has their place in history of the club."
The truth is that, in AEK’s history, there’s a coach whose name will be remembered for ages to come. That's Dragan Sakota, who took the team to win the 2001-2002 Greek League, the 2017-2018 Greek Cup, and the 2017-2018 Basketball Champions League. Dragan is Dusan's father and joined the team in Rio de Janeiro. He was even invited to celebrate as if he were just another teammate.
"It's very special that my father, who was a champion coach, has been here to share this tournament with us. He's a very important part of the history of this team and he deserved this acknowledgement," commented Dusan.
Without a doubt, this Intercontinental Cup is one of those achievements that everyone who loves AEK will never forget. Particularly the protagonists of this team and the group of fans that traveled all the way from Europe to cheer their players non-stop.