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Hezonja: “We must be prepared for another war”

Hezonja: "We must be prepared for another war"

Real Madrid beat Barça in the Final Four in Kaunas (66-78) after coming back from behind in the second half. “They were very successful in the triple and I told my players not to worry, that we would find a window through which to enter. They have begun to hesitate, to miss a shot and that’s where we entered. My players have been huge. Edy has been immense and the veterans have managed the tempo of the game very well at the end”, commented Chus Mateo, who sees the doubts that have been generated at times as normal. “It is normal that there are people who say no. We came without Deck, Yabusele and Poirier and in front we had Mirotic, who is a great player like the top of a pine tree. But people doubt less and less. Once again we have fought against adversity, it seems that we like it”.

Tavares was immense in the area with 20 points (7/9 on 2-pointers) and 15 rebounds (4 of them offensive) for a PIR of 39. “We knew that Barça is one of the teams that plays the best in the third quarters. Break many games and take advantage. We knew we were going to suffer and we have been constant”, commented the Cape Verdean who gave the key to the match. “It was to continue in the game. In the first and second quarter they have been very successful in the triple, but we knew that at some point they would fail and that we had to catch the rebound, because they do a lot of damage on second chances. We knew how to control it and that helped us”.

Regarding the final, Tavares expects a real battle. “I expect the same. Vezenkov does not stop still, he is constantly moving. And Sloukas has a lot of experience. It will be difficult, but you have to fight.”

His teammate, Mario Hezonja, believes that “also mental” toughness has gotten them into this Euroleague final. “Luckily no one is here, all the teams are great. You have to be prepared for war. We’ve been fighting for it all year. Our toughness has helped us win”, added the Croatian, who does not want to get wet about the percentage of options that each team has. “That is for you journalists. I don’t care who is favourite. They finished first, so we will have to be more mentally tough”.

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