After a disappointing 2018-19 7DAYS EuroCup season for Asseco Arka Gdynia ended with a poor 1-9 record, the club has started this one at full speed. Arka is tied for first place in Group D together with former EuroCup champions Galatasaray Doga Sigorta Istanbul and Unicaja Malaga, all with 3-1 victories. But the most remarkable – and unusual – fact about the team's fast start is how, and where, Arka has built it.
Arka has all three of its victories on the road, making it the only team in the competition to have done that so far. The first one came by a score of 74-78 in Oldenburg, Germany against EWE Baskets in the 7DAYS EuroCup season opener; the next by 59-62 in Podgorica, Montenegro against Buducnost VOLI; and the third on Wednesday in Trento, Italy, with an 80-91 decision against host Dolomiti Energia.
That amazing journey only had one letdown, when Arka went home for Round 2 and lost to former champion Unicaja Malaga 59-66.
"We like the road atmosphere. We like the away crowd. It gives us an extra boost," a smiling Devonte Upson said after Wednesday's win in Trento. He posted 14 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists for a performance index rating of 22. Upson was just one of six Arka players who amassed double figures in PIR in that game.
"We play like a team, like a family, actually," explained head coach Przemyslaw Frasunkiewicz. "Most of those guys have never played on a level like this and they really like it. They want to stay on a level like this, so every time we step on the court we play with a chip on our shoulders."
That can explain how Arka had allowed just 66.3 points per game to its opponents in the first three games. In Trento, even though Dolomiti Energia scored 80 – the first time Arka allowed as many points this season – the team excelled on offense, with 24 assists and 12 triples, many of them coming in crucial moments.
"It's a beautiful game when we're knocking down shots because we're always gonna play defense. That's a main key of ours," Upson explained.
And that 'beautiful game' has Arka on pace for a historic season.