Minsk-2006 continues basketball autumn

Belarus’ champions celebrate vital victory over Turkish P?nar Kars?yaka in third most significant Cup tournament of Europe — heading Group G and almost achieving their first win in VTB United League

By Vladimir Dmitriev

The team’s leadership of Group G was at stake, although this did not guarantee a place in the next round of the tournament. A win would raise our chances significantly however, so the squad was determined to beat Turkish P?nar Kars?yaka in Izmir (in the EuroChallenge for several years and having begun the season by defeating Turk Telekom).

The match in Turkish Izmir rose in intensity towards the end, as the hosts came close to making an impressive ‘21 point’ comeback. Happily, the strong nerves of goal-keeper Alexander Kudryavtsev helped him avoid hesitation and the Minsk team created a major sensation within the EuroChallenge tour. They now boast two victories across two matches, and have an excellent chance of continuing to the next stage.

“The hissing noise of Turkish fans and the tremendous roar in the stands only inspired me,” recollects Alexander Kudryavtsev. “We managed to demonstrate our cool at the end of the match, believing that we could win despite everything. Saying that, at the end of the match, we slightly relaxed.”

They had to face four matches in a single week, over different tournaments. It’s no surprise that the squad is tired by the end of a match. Andrey Krivonos’ trainees experienced the same when battling Krasnodar’s Lokomotiv-Kuban. Initially, they played well, helped by new recruit Courtney Eldridge, from the USA. After 32 minutes, he was boasting 1.5 times more passes with results than the whole hosting team: his 12 passes created a new record within the VTB United League. However, the team still managed to lose 83:89.

Minsk-2006 is next to face Czech Nymburk, hoping to earn first points in the VTB United League. So far, Mr. Krivonos’ team has been focused on the EuroChallenge, where it seems they have quite promising prospects. Our basketballers are also to play in the Belarusian championship, where the club is confident of victory.

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