The Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four Championship Game Press Conference took place at Zalgirio Arena. Real Madrid was represented by star center Walter Tavares and head coach Chus Mateo, both of whom great respect to Olympiacos Piraeus, its final opponent in the current Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season when the two teams dispute the trophy on Sunday evening.
Both of them praised the fact that Olympiacos kept a core of players for many years as one of the big keys to be successful.
"It is an honor to compete against a team like Olympiacos, which is a basketball machine," Coach Mateo said. "They play amazing, they are very solid, and they know each other really well for a long time."
"I am going to try to enjoy every minute of this Final Four against a great opponent like Olympiacos," Tavares said. "They have been consistent throughout the whole year, we have followed them very well. They play great and have been together for so much time."
Coach Mateo went on to praise Olympiacos boss Georgios Bartzokas. "It is a pleasure and honor for me to be the opponent of Coach Bartzokas, someone who I think of as a reference in European basketball, a gentleman of the benches. For me, it is good to play against him."
Tavares and Mateo were asked about Moustapha Fall, and both had really positive words about him. It is a key matchup in the championship game and everyone is aware of it.
"Fall is an excellent player not just because of the way he scores and plays defense, but also for what he generates. He is a very good passer that knows the game really well. We are facing one of the best players in Europe, without any kind of doubt, and as big as Edy [Tavares] is, of course," Coach Mateo said. "For us, Edy is absolutely critical. It will be a great basketball game for fans watching it, and a good matchup. I hope it falls our way."
"I know Fall is a great player that will make things hard for me. I believe that more or less we have the same size," Tavares added. "I feel good against a player that players like me, that does things as I do them. It will be a pleasure to play against him, as always, and I will do my best to stop him."
Mateo also spoke well about Olympiacos's most experienced players, Kostas Sloukas, who was also present in the press conference room, and team captain Kostas Papanikolaou.
"Olympiacos is an extraordinary team with player with a lot of players with great character who have been competing together at a really high level," he said. "Sloukas, who is here, is an example of that, an extraordinary player with competitive nature. Papanikolaou and he played really well and perfectly know what this games are about."