BEIRUT, Lebanon (23rd FIBA Asia Champions Cup): Turkmen outfit Belent Asgabat marked their debut in FIBA Asia Champions Cup by entering the semifinals – the first time any team has done so on their appearance in a long time now – and coach Ridvan Velishayev’s mood was ambivalent on the achievement.
“Yes we are proud of the fact that we made the last four,” he said.
“But I think we are a little short on preparation to be in contention for a medal,” Velishayev said.
“I am not looking for excuses, but we prepared for this competition according to its original schedule in June. When it got moved, we didn’t get the right elements in our preparation to resume in the way we would have liked,” he added.
”We have a fantastic team. There’s no doubt in that. I think we are giving our best shot in each game we have played here. Yes, we won one and made the semifinals, but then we lost three.
“The point for me is when I sit down to introspect is to look at if we could have won any of the games we lost. I think there lies the key to whether we can a medal, even if not here but in the future,” he added.
Speaking on the first ever participation by a Turkmen club in this competition, Velishayev said, “Well this may be our first time. But I think we made everybody notice us. We may have lost three out of the game four games, but it’s not for want of efforts on our team’s part.
“There are things that are happening in a very positive way in our region as far as basketball is concerned.
“A new subzone has been created (FIBA Asia Sub Zones) and we are very ambitious in making use of this opportunity. But things can’t happen overnight. We are aware of this as well.
“We have to put basketball on a fasttrack in our region if we have to catch up with the rest in FIBA Asia. Whether it’s the National Teams or club teams, I think the direction is the same,” he said.
S Mageshwaran / FIBA Asia
Photo: Milad Payami / FIBA Asia