''We always believed'' declares Final Four MVP Casas
SZEKSZARD (Hungary) - EuroCup Women Final Four MVP Queralt Casas has revealed she always had faith that Valencia Basket would get the job done after reflecting on a title success that will be talked about for generations.
The guard was still pinching herself as she tried to absorb the magnitude of a historic first title for the Spanish club and one that was won 82-81 in almost indescribably dramatic circumstances.
"Wow. I don't even have the words. We won by one point in the last second and now we are the EuroCup Women champions. This is something that is really amazing," declared Casas.
"We knew it would be a really hard game because Reyer Venezia are a very good team, but we are too. Both teams have athleticism and strong players. We knew it would be a fight - even a war in fact and it was just like this.
She added: "What I love is that when there was only one second left and we were one down, we always believed. We believed in ourselves and it was amazing."
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The role of Casas in the victory was immense. Not only did she produce a team-high 20 points, she showed the composure to throw the sideline out of bounds pass with 1.2 seconds remaining to Raquel Carrera under the basket who was fouled. Her teammate subsequently proved she has ice running through her veins as she sunk the resulting free-throws to seal the deal.
"I thought that they would put the tallest player under the basket and then I just saw Raquel cutting to the basket and so I threw the ball there," she said.
"When I passed it, I was hoping that she was still focused as she is only 19 years old but you know, she is just amazing. I love her and told her that ten times after the game. She is brilliant and her mind is amazing on the floor," smiled Casas.
"I was not saying I believed one hundred percent (when she was on the free-throw line) because you never know, but she did amazing and we all thank her."
The victory of Valencia is a landmark chapter in a project that has been several years in the making. The club picked up the youth teams from the Ros Casares club that won EuroLeague Women in 2012 and then went out of business.
Since then, they have built the women's programme impressively, climbing from the second tier in Spain to now being crowned EuroCup Women winners.
"When I signed here, they told me that they had a big ambition and I was sure about it," stated Casas, who has helped Valencia take this huge forward step.
"The club is doing a great a job with the women's team which is something that you don't always find elsewhere, when there are sometimes big differences between the men and women's basketball sides. But they really treat us unbelievable and they are doing things so great.
"Yes, we have some amazing players but when the organisation is also amazing, things come together and can go well."
Another dimension of the project in Valencia has been the incredible support and love given to the women's team going back to the early days and gathering huge momentum ever since, with Casas eager to reciprocate the love.
She said: "We are super happy, but it would have been amazing to have been able to celebrate this in front of our fans in Valencia, but we can't with the way that the world is now.
"However, this is for them. They are not here, but we know they were all watching on television and with us," concluded the guard.