Wednesday preview: Avellino looking to put pressure on Venezia at home
AVELLINO (FIBA Europe Cup) - It's officially hammer time in FIBA Europe Cup, with Sidigas Scandone Avellino and Umana Reyer Venezia ready to engage in hand-to-hand combat for the right to lift the trophy.
Both Italian clubs have an historic opportunity to add their names to the basketball history books as winners of a European title for the first time.
Reyer Venezia squandered their only chance to do so in the 1980-81 season in the Korac Cup, while Avellino are in a completely new territory, after defeating Bakken Bears over the two legs of the Semi-Finals.
"The level of execution and the desire to win will be what makes the difference, even if Venice may be labeled as favorites."Stefano Sacripanti
"I'm excited and happy to have reached the Final: it's an authentic achievement for my team and for the city, since it's the first time that Avellino reaches the final step of a European competition," said Stefano Sacripanti, the head coach of the club.
Although some might label them as slight underdogs in the Final, the lupi — Italian for wolves — are a hungry bunch.
Kyrylo Fesenko and Maarten Leunen have both had their eyes on the prize from the start of the Play-Offs and just making the Final will not be enough to keep them satisfied.
"The level of execution and the desire to win will be what makes the difference, even if Venice may be labeled as favorites," acknowledged Sacripanti, emphasizing the importance of getting a positive result at home.
"The point difference will be particularly important. We must think about winning and doing well. We shouldn't have empty minutes, otherwise we're risking missing out."
"Raising the trophy would be a great reward for our efforts."Stefano Sacripanti
Having been eliminated by Venezia both in the Basketball Champions League and Serie A last season, the wolves have some debts to be settled. However, payback isn't the main fuel for Avellino who simply want to crown a great campaign with an appropriate finish.
"We have worked really hard to reach the Final," Sacripanti spoke before the first of the two games.
Coach #Sacripanti ha presentato la gara di andata della Finale di @fibaeuropecup contro @umanareyer 🏀— Sidigas Scandone AV (@ScandoneBasket) April 23, 2018
🎙: "La prima finale europea, un traguardo dal valore unico ed emozionante"
Leggi di più sul nostro sito ⤵️https://t.co/I8r0sUV2d8#Scandone1948 #FIBAEuropeCup pic.twitter.com/3b1yCG2jsw
"Raising the trophy would be a great reward for our efforts. I'm doing everything that I can to get us to play the best game that we can on Wednesday."
Over the two legs of the Final, both teams will lay everything they've got on the floor. The first episode of what promises to be a drama-packed Italian clash is just around the corner.
Time: Wednesday, 20:30 CET
Venue: Palasport Del Mauro, Avellino
Domestic Form: Sidigas Avellino and Reyer Venezia both celebrated wins in Serie A on the weekend. Reyer defeated Dinamo Sassari 92-84 on the road in Sardinia and got back to first place with a 21-6 record after Olimpia Milano slipped up against Brescia. Meanwhile, Avellino defeated Capo d'Orlando 77-73 in overtime to maintain fourth place with a 16-9 mark.
Key Matchup: Kyrylo Fesenko v Mitchell Watt. Size and strength may be Avellino's biggest advantage against Venezia in the Final and the battle at the center position is likely play a defining role in deciding the winner of the FIBA Europe Cup. Can Mitchell Watt and Paul Biligha hold their own against the most physical player in the competition?
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