Minsk-2006 team conquers basketball Europe
By Dmitry Komarov
Andrey Krivonos’ team has now been playing in Europe for three years, having debuted in the EuroChallenge — Europe’s third most important tournament. This was followed by the VTB United League and the current season promises fans the best play yet from the Belarusian team.
For the VTB United League, the squad began playing in the extended championship, against the strongest teams: from Russia, Ukraine and the Baltic States. They played against Lietuvos Rytas in a home match and are now through to the EuroChallenge group stage for the first time (having lost to the Antwerp Giants from Belgium last year).
Facing Sokhumi from Tbilisi in the first qualification round, Minsk-2006 lost the away match and needed 16 points to go through to the next stage. It seemed impossible, so the final score of 93:67 at Minsk-Arena for the return game was a surprise to local fans and those from Georgia. Even the Minsk team never expected such a ‘knock-out’.
“Back in Tbilisi, I said that not everything had been lost,” noted Mr. Krivonos after the match. “Today’s success was the result of my players finally believing in themselves; this was our aim from the beginning of the season. They’ve understood that we can win, even when losing by 16 points.”