The Neptunas basketball players from Klaipeda flew to Valencia from Palanga on early Tuesday morning, where they will play the last match of the first Euroleague round against the local Valencia Basket team in Spain on 18 December (on Thursday) at 8 pm. A victory would guarantee a ticket to the Top 16 stage for Neptunas.
"We need to try to win ourselves and then we should not wait for any favour from the other teams. We have not won any match on the road, but why should we not change this pace. It is all in our hands", the Neptunas head coach, Kazys Maksvytis, said before their trip to Spain.
The Neptunites went to Spain only having a few hours rest after the LKL match against Nevezis from Kedainiai on Monday evening. They won this match in an emphatic manner - by a 43 point advantage - with the score of 116:73.
"We went to Spain early for a reason, in order to have some rest and tame the wall of the Valencia arena and talk it out all together. The motivation for the victory is tremendous. If we win, we would definitely enter the Euroleague Top 16 stage. Can there be a bigger motivation? When I said that our goal is to enter the Euroleague Top 16 stage before the Euroleague start, there were such basketball skeptics, who grinned and said that Neptunas would become cannon fodder. We were silent and did our work with our mouths shut. Now we are on the threshold of the Top 16 stage. I have always told the players, and repeat it again, that we need to reach out for the impossible and then we can achieve the maximum. When you play, and fight with all your heart, you can move heaven and earth. I have ascertained this more than once," K. Maksvytis confessed.
Neptunas may enter the Top 16 stage even after a loss to the Valencia Basket team, but in this case, Pireaus Olympiakos must defeat the Istanbul Galatasaray team.
We would like to remind you that Neptunas beat last season's European Cup winner, the Valencia Basket team with the score of 94:87 in the Euroleague - the most prestigious European Basketball Tournament - at the Svyturys arena on 13 November.
At that time, the Spanish player, Pau Ribas, who scored 22 points, caused the most nuisances for Neptunas, Bojan Dubljevich scored 18 points, Vladimir Lucic - 12, Sam Van Rossom - 10, Romain Sato - 9 points.
"We will do our best to stop their key players. We should focus on Pau Ribas. A victory is important to us, even if it is just by one point. We are all determined, and know the importance of this victory," highlighted K. Maksvytis.
Neptunas have already gained four wins in the Euroleague. Without the above-mentioned victory against the Valencia Basket team, the Neptunites triumphed three times at the Svyturys arena: they beat previous two season's Serbian Cup winners, the Beograd Crvena Zvezda Telekom team with the score of 83:81 on 23 October, the Vitoria Laboral Kutxa (Spain) with the score of 80:79 on 20 November, and the 11 time Turkish champions Instanbul Galatasay, where the Lithuanian national basketball team member, Martynas Pocius, plays, with the score of 82:72 on 10 December.
The Neptunites overtook Kaunas Zalgiris in the ratings of the Euroleague clubs announced by BasketNews.Lt this week. Neptunas climbed to 14th place, and Zalgiris fell down to 16th place.