First things first. I would like to wish our team captain Vassilis Spanoulis a healthy and speedy recovery. As you probably know, he is out for the season due to injury. All the team wishes that he recovers soon. He is our captain and a big part of our team, but things like this happen in sports all the time. Luck is always a factor and Billy had bad luck this time. I am really sure he will have a fast and good recovery. He is "Kill Bill"! I am sure he will be back stronger than ever, for sure. I don't like to speak about players individually, but with Billy down, I was asked to talk about Briante Weber, so here it is. He is a really good guy and is passionate. He is high energy and shows it on the court; he hypes everybody up. He is emotional and really helps the team.
So, we are in the final date of the EuroLeague Regular Season. Six teams are fighting for three playoffs spots this week, and we are one of them. I was going to say we have to win and wait for other results, but it is actually the other way around. First, we have to see which results take place on Thursday and then on Friday we will see how many chances we have left when we play. We got ourselves into this situation; in the last two months, we were not able to get good results and here we are, in Round 30, depending on other results. That's on us for not performing well. We are just hoping that everything will go our way. And if we don't make it to the playoffs, everything will be on us.
"We are just hoping that everything will go our way."
No one is giving up in the EuroLeague and every team stays competitive, even the eliminated teams. Just last week, Darussafaka defeated Bayern. All teams are playing hard and to be honest, I don't know any player in the world who will step on the court wanting to lose. We will see what happens, first on Thursday and then with our game against Darussafaka on Friday. As I said, we don't have full control of the situation. We have to take care of what we can control, which is beating Darussafaka in front of our fans. We want to play a good game on Friday and hope we have chances to qualify when we step on the court.
We have to prepare for this game like any other. Once we step on the court, we have to do everything we can to win the game. It has been like that all season and it will be like that against Darussafaka. This is what we want and want we need: to win this game. We have seen the possibilities and what has to happen in order for us to keep our chances alive. Again, we should have qualified earlier and it is all our fault. Now we have to wait for other results.
When the team is good, everybody feels good, but the team is not feeling good in the last six weeks, so I am not feeling good either. I have to be ready for every chance that Coach gives me and I am trying my best in all games. As I said, I don't like to speak individually about myself or any of the other guys because the team is what's most important. And when the team is not going well we have to self-criticize ourselves, find out where the problem is and work together, as a team, to solve it.
"We have to play for our pride, for our team and our fans."
Right now, we cannot even think about the playoffs because being there is not entirely in our hands. Two months ago, we were fourth, maybe fifth, and now we are in a tough situation. Something changed in the last two months; we aren't playing well. We tried to find answers, but it is really tough. We have had injuries and bad timing, but still, it is no excuse because every team has its own problems. I hope we solve them, qualify and that the playoffs will be a different story. We have good players and a good team, but we haven't shown it recently. All that matters now is beating Darussafaka and if we make it to the playoffs, we will see.
We have to play this game with the right mentality. If we have a possibility to qualify, then it is a do-or-die game for us. If it isn't, we have to play for our pride, for our team and our fans. There is always pressure in a EuroLeague game, home or away. We have to wait and see and if we have a chance on Friday, go for it. We will know by then.