Nikolay Stoyanov, Spartak: The match was decided in two attacks after – I can say – our childish mistakes. One Lipps shot at the end and our bad decisions in attack. We managed to go ahead in the score a couple of times in the last part and maybe we should have kept that score there. Working with new additions takes time to get in sync, as with anything. So we will need more work in the gym to improve our game. Today there was some progress, but it was not enough. we can still
Lubomir Minchev, coach of Spartak: It wasn’t just two situations that decided the match. For me, one of the reasons was a poor start to the third quarter when we allowed Malik Toppin to make two consecutive 3-pointers out of nowhere – personally, that weighs on me. But I think it was a good match. Recently, Balkan have had a better shooting percentage – by the way, they are not bad today – 41 percent. Overall, I think both teams played well. Is there progress in our game – maybe, but I see weaknesses. Chernokozhev hasn’t trained for ten days, they said he was ready to play today, but I preferred not to risk it. We will see his condition after the two training sessions in Estonia.
Petar Zlatanovic, coach of Balkan: The key thing in this game was that I told the players not to hear any more that we were playing hesitantly. An extremely contested match. Super match, I can’t even wait to watch it again. When I looked at the statistics, all parameters were equal – quick attacks, assists, even they have more tackles than us. One thing, however, that we lacked in three consecutive games was penalty kicks. We had a very good percentage today – 20 out of 22, and that means a lot – to be focused and score them. Ilian’s return was also on par – I don’t know if anyone else in the NBL has the energy he has. A very important win against an excellent opponent. Spartak have great depth in their squad, with five foreigners. I am very happy that we won this game.
Karl-Johan Lipps, Balkan: Today we really had to fight for the win because our schedule the last few days was quite tough. It was important that we were quite well prepared mentally, and that brought us the win. We also had a few wins back to back and I think that kind of boosted the confidence of the others as well as mine. We support each other, we also have the support of the coach and that has to continue for us to continue to win. It is possible to continue the winning streak, but now we should not think about it, but believe in the process and train hard to win both games and the title.
I know that I am the first Estonian player in the men’s basketball championship. I like everything in Botevgrad. I like that everything is close – my apartment, my favorite restaurant – it’s everything I need during the season and it’s perfect for me.