By Antonis Stroggylakis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Fenerbahce Beko forward Gigi Datome saw his team snap a four-game skid in the first match of the new decade by beating Olympiacos Piraeus on the road. And now, his wish for the squad is to build upon this win in order to make a complete turnaround in the EuroLeague regular season.
“We wanted to turn the page of the season,” Datome told Eurohoops. “We already wanted that before of course. I hope this road win over Olympiacos, in an arena where it’s always tough to win, can be for us the turn of the season.”
In total contrast with the phenomenal 25-5 with which Fenerbahce finished the 2018-2019 regular season, this campaign has been far for pretty for the Turkish contender. After the victory over Olympiacos, Fener improved to 6 – 11 and, halfway through the season, remains below the playoffs zone.
“We are still in a very bad position in the rankings. That’s why we have to focus on the next one and keep on working,” Datome said.
Datome and his teammates shot 16/29 3-pointers in Piraeus, coming one triple short of tying the club’s EuroLeague record. The Italian player himself had 15 points, including a rather tough bucket from downtown that beat the buzzer of the third quarter and gave Fener a significant 13-point lead. Olympiacos had previously erased a 19-point deficit to approach by four.
“I think most of our shots were very good shots,” Datome commented. “We were patient we took good shots. I think we have very good players, and when good players take good shots, percentages are high.”
Olympiacos made it an 8-point game following a 3-pointer by Vassilis Spanoulis with 90 seconds remaining. Fener had previously suffered from late comebacks by opponents and now Datome was pleased that he and the other Fener players kept their cool to take what they wanted.
“I didn’t want our team to leave the focus to win the game,” Datome said.” They still had a chance to come back when Spanoulis made a 3-pointer. We kept this advantage and of course, this is an improvement.”
By scoring that triple, Spanoulis became the all-time leading scorer in the EuroLeague annals.
“I think he was already a living legend, also before this record,” Datome said. “For me, It’s been an honor I’ve been playing with him all these years. The way he is, is such a great example. Not only for us as players but also for the younger generation.”
“Congratulation to him one more time. I’m very happy for him.”