“We will play to win”

Panathinaikos will be hosting CSKA Moscow tomorrow in THY Euroleague Top16 game 14. Argyris Pedoulakis, Panathinaikos Head Coach, commented on the encounter in a Press Conference held this afternoon at the OAKA.

“Tomorrow will be our last game in the Top16, it will be curtains in the phase and we are coming up against a strong team, CSKA Moscow, one with great tradition in European basketball. It has pure quality in all positions, has depth, has experience… Lately it has been trying out different formations. Tomorrow we will have our fans support, we believe that many friends of the team will be by our side, in a cordially manner, to assist us in reaching victory and continue on to the playoffs pleasantly. All players are prepared, we had some minor issues, but we have learned how to live with such situations. What we want is to continue to perform well in Europe”.

Pedoulakis was questioned about the scenarios out there in view of the ensuing season: “We are not interested in them. They might strike the people’s interest who do dwell upon them and so should they, but we will make our effort to win. It is not entirely up to us what is to happen next, in any event. The other results will have to be countered in”.

The Panathinaikos coach answered also to a question concerning the difficulty the technical staff has in administrating exhaustion provided from many and consecutive games which was brought about due to the change in the Top16 game system. “It is true that exhaustion does exist. It is game 24 in Europe, the one tomorrow, we have played 46 games counting in the Greek League and we are at almost 60 with the preseason games and the Greek Cup Games. It is way too many in a year in which Panathinaikos is being restructured. In a year we do not have the 14-15 players with whom a rotation could be committed so as to reduce tiredness. CSKA reduced its budget in the past and failed to reach even to the Top16… I believe that the fact that we have a great atmosphere amongst the players has helped us to quite an extent, they are motivated and they are a team! Also, through the defensive part we have got to wins, even though we might have not been so good in offense. We have a long way to go ahead of us; it is not easy to administrate this program. But we must learn to live with it. I had stated at the tournament in Sofia were Diamantidis was sidelined, that we will have to learn to live without him. It was something that was needed during the season. We have players who do not have the experience of consecutive games. It is test for body and mind. It is also part of practice, part of playing for Panathinaikos, a team which has demands and pressure. We have to learn to live with it”.