It goes without mention that last year in Berlin at the 2016 Euroleague (EL) finals Fenerbahçe missed out on an opportunity to be the Champion with 1 rebound. 1 possession. This was the beginning, the fuel in other words; the redemption process for Coach Z.Obradovic and his players to relentlessly pursue a summer full of tireless workouts endless sessions scouting their opponents and the journey that brought them the elusive and fairy tale like ending that they finally deserved yesterday.
30 weeks of Euroleague travel and games, followed by the playoffs and an amazing semi-finals and finals game with fans that filled the Sinan Erdem Dome (estimated figures of fans that attended the championship game were around 15,000+ for Fenerbahçe, in comparison to the average across the league in terms of attendance 8,100+ fans it almost was doubled)
Fenerbahçe might have lost some critical games during the season (12 in total) however the turning point to us all was the Baskonia game when coach Obradovic woke up his players with a very harsh wakeup call to take action. It goes without miss to state the since 1992 coach Obradovic has been striving for greatness and knows what it takes to create an environment to win at the highest level of European basketball.
While all the above are clear factors that contributed to the fact that Fenerbahçe were bound to lift their first ever Euroleague cup there are added factors that I feel not a lot of people see.
- Erdem Can & Ilker Beltugay the entire assisting staff that again tirelessly spend nights on end preping the players, presenting video edits and elements of analytics (while minimal due to time constraints) to coach Obradovic to create a strategy that allowed the FIRST TURKISH TEAM to raise the Euroleague Championship Cup. By far the highest and most prestigious cup outside the realm of the NBA.
- The club executives Mauricio Gherardhini & Ozan Balkan to bring in the group of players to the club that created the atmosphere needed to consistantly make it to the Euroleague Final 4 consecutively.
Aside from the above less seen (so called hidden) factors I now would like to revert back to how the players performed on court and throughout the duration of the Final 4 and how correct preparation and making use of strategy that effectively proved defeating opponents rely on numbers.
The Semi-Final Games
CSKA Moscow vs. Olympiacos Pireus:
Real Madrid vs. Fenerbahçe:
3rd – 4th place game:
THE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME HIGHLIGHTS: