19 September, 2017
02 May, 2018
3 Zeljko Sakic | Photo: Benoit Bouchez
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U-BT Cluj-Napoca excited about new lease on life in Group L

MONS (FIBA Europe Cup) - It is still relatively early in the race for the Play-Offs, but U-BT Cluj-Napoca were already starting to feel the pressure in the FIBA Europe Cup after starting the Second Round with a home loss.

Having entered the Christmas break with a bad taste in their mouth following a 77-73 defeat to Donar Groningen, the Romanian champions rebooted their Group L campaign in Belgium.

Paced by point guard Giordan Watson, U-BT Cluj-Napoca escaped with an 85-81 win over Belfius Mons-Hainaut and improved to a 1-1 record, leaving their Tuesday's opponents winless.

"I am satisfied with the victory," head coach Mihai Silvasan smiled after an energy-draining battle on the court. "In order to stay in the race to qualify further, we needed this win. We needed it, they needed it. It was a big fight."

"We can't lose at home against Keravnos and Mons-Hainaut if we want to reach the Quarter-Finals."U-BT Cluj-Napoca head coach Mihai SilvasanU-BT Cluj-Napoca head coach Mihai Silvasan

Having got back on track, U-BT Cluj-Napoca now share mid-table positions in Group L with their next opponent Keravnos, who also split their first two games in the Second Round.

"Our goal remains the same. We want to advance from the Second Round and we will take it game-by-game, possession-by-possession. We can't lose at home against Keravnos and Mons-Hainaut if we want to reach the Quarter-Finals," offered Silvasan, looking ahead.

Good win guys! ✊

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U-BT Cluj-Napoca center Ousmane Barro, who scored 9 points and grabbed 8 rebounds in the win, also has his sights set on making the Play-Offs, but was relieved with the positive result.

"We knew that in order to stay in a good position for the qualification, we had to win and that's what we did. We expected a very tough game, because we knew that our opponents also had to win after the loss in Cyprus," said the 33-year-old Senegalese big man.

Indeed, the situation has now become quite complicated for Belfius Mons-Hainaut, who are already two wins behind the front-running Donar Groningen after losses to Keravnos and U-BT Cluj-Napoca.

"When you play like a game like this, you must have your best players making the difference."Belfius Mons-Hainaut head coach Daniel GoethalsBelfius Mons-Hainaut head coach Daniel Goethals

"There are only four games remaining and we already lost twice," the team's playcaller Daniel Goethals concluded, hinting that the margin for error going forward has become incredibly small.

According to the specialist, the fact that Garlon Green and Justin Love were limited by foul trouble severely hampered the home side's chances to fight for a win.

"We lost the first game in Cyprus by a large margin, but we kept things close against Cluj. In fact, we found ourselves in similar situations in the Regular Season against Demir Insaat and Sigal Prishtina. When you play like a game like this, you must have your best players making the difference," he explained.

"That wasn't the case. I'm disappointed, but I hope that we will have a good reaction on Saturday in the domestic championship."

Belfius Mons-Hainaut will play their next game in the FIBA Europe Cup at home once again, hosting the undefeated Donar Groningen side, while U-BT Cluj-Napoca will travel to Cyprus to face off against Keravnos.