Hello basketball fans. Two months have passed since my last blog and during this period we had a 10-game losing streak in the EuroLeague. That was an indeed difficult situation for the club, the team and the fans. After we had a great start to the season, we lost some players due to injuries and we did not win the close games. Losing these games in crunch time is really tough, but it’s important to keep on fighting. Every game is a new game and you have to focus on that next game to beat your opponents.
The level of the EuroLeague this season is really high and even more balanced than ever. You need to give 100% to win games. 99% is already too little. We missed our injured players during this time period a lot and still not everyone is back on the court yet. I am not sure how many games in a row we played with the same roster – or if we did play two games in a row with the same roster at all. I felt we had another team on the court every week, which didn’t make it easier. Every player who comes back from an injury needs to be re-integrated into the team.
But that’s sports. That’s our job and our passion. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Even 10 games in a row. Since losing games is unfortunately also part of our job, you need to stay focused. As an individual and as a team. You have to stay positive and not lose hope. You have to work even harder to get back on a successful track. But it’s important to stay positive. I hate losing and I give 100% to not have this feeling after a game.
So what did we learn in the last couple of weeks?
Rule 1: “Stay cool, stay focused.”
Rule 2: “If you lose, stay cool, stay focused.”
Rule 3: “If you lose 10 games in a row: Stay cool, stay focused“.
Another thing that players do not like so much after a loss is to answer journalists' questions like “Why did you lose the game?“ Of course I know that it is part of the job. I am thankful that the relationship between the press and the team here in Valencia is really good, but the question “Why did you lose the game?“ is one of the most annoying questions in the history of sports. What should you answer? Answer 1: “Because our opponents scored more points than us.” Well, that´s the total truth, but definitely not the answer the journalists would like to hear. Or second answer: “Luck was not on our side.“ If you answer like this, you´ll get the next question about why luck has not been on your side. In fact, in most instances the winning team played better than the other, but after a losing game you are totally disappointed and it is difficult to accept that the other team played better. There are too many things that you need to handle after the game. Sometimes nuances make the difference and it´s difficult for a player to analyze it correctly a few minutes after the game.
And if you stayed cool and focused and keep on working hard, you start to win games again like we did in the last two games against Panathinaikos and at Malaga. Both games were tough and we won them in crunch time. Especially at Malaga after we were down by 17 in the third quarter. That was very emotional and gave us the confirmation that we still are a great team with passion.