Dunne: ''There is nobody prouder than me in this moment''
TEL AVIV (Israel) - Tal Dunne expressed his immense pride at helping Ironi Ness Ziona win the 2020-21 FIBA Europe Cup title.
The inspirational captain played through the pain barrier with surgery required on a fractured hand, whilst also having suffered a cut to the head in his side's Semi-Final victory.
But Dunne returned to the court for the second half and put his body on the line again in Sunday's Final as Ness Ziona overcame Arged BMSLAM Stal for a historic triumph - one which he hopes will act as a springboard for further success.
"WE STARTED FROM THE BOTTOM, BUT WE WANT TO ACHIEVE GREATNESS."
"I cannot describe the emotional feeling that I'm going through right now. It is an unbelievable feeling, it's insane. We did it for the club, we did it for the fans, we did it for the city of Ness Ziona. There is nobody prouder than me in this moment," Dunne said post-game.
"We keep moving forward. We want to achieve more. We started from the bottom, but we want to achieve greatness. Because we are a small club, the process takes a little longer. Step-by-step and we are going to be a good club in the end."
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Dunne hoisted the FIBA Europe Cup title aloft to the delight of a passionate home crowd at the Menora Mivtachim Arena with the long-serving player hailed for his commitment to the cause.
The 34-year-old began his second stint at the club a decade ago and twice helped Ness Ziona earn promotion from the second division in the domestic leagues in Israel.
"Everyone here called me a hero, but I don't think I’m a hero, I'm just a basketball player. The kid who came up with me to lift the trophy, he was cured from cancer one year ago. He's the real winner of life and a true hero."
Head coach Brad Greenberg added: "Tal has such a history with Ness Ziona - he feels such a special bond and responsibility to the club and the loyal fans. It was really important for him to play and contribute anyway he could. His teammates respect him because when he's on the court, he's going to fight - that's contagious and he is able to impact the team with his basketball IQ and his spirit."
It was confirmed that Dunne would now miss the rest of the season, but what a way to bow out and play a major role in an incredible moment that will never be forgotten by all associated with Ness Ziona.