Only once had two players from the same Spanish team coincided in the best five in the Euroleague, we saw it nine years ago, in the 2013-14 season, Madrid’s season of recordsthose who did not stop beating until they reached the final and unexpectedly fell into extra time against Maccabi de Rice and company. So, the chosen ones were Sergio Rodríguez (MVP of that course) and Rudy Fernandez. Now two other meringue players have repeated it: dzanan muse, 23 years old, in his first season leading the competition; and Edy Tavares31, who faces the sixth and his fourth Final Four.
The two are part of the ideal five along with Lorenzo Brown (Maccabi), Vezenkov (Olympiacos) and Lessort (Partizán). For Tavares it is his third choice in the first quintet (and he adds another in the second), a huge achievement, because only two players exceed those three mentions (since 2000): Navarro with five and Diamantidis with four. With three, like Edy, we find Spanoulis, De Colo, Teodosic, Vujcic, Bodiroga, Vesely… and that’s it.
“For me it is a source of pride, it means that I have been consistent”says Tavareswhich adds: “If I appear there it is because of my teammates, because my game lives a lot from them. If I’m well positioned, they give me the ball, they make it easy for me”. For Muse this individual applause is accessory: “It is a great achievement in my first year, I thank Chus Mateo and my teammates, because when I left the NBA and after Efes it was impossible to imagine that two years later he would be in the Quintet; but the important thing is the title, I strive to win, not for personal prizes. I look at Llull, Rudy and El Chacho and I think they have a winning geneI learn every day from them, they push the rest of us to be better and they help me because I am also a winner and I will do anything to achieve it”.
Between them, who each average 24 minutes on the field, they stack up 26.1 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists and a PIR of 33.7referents of the present Madrid and of the next seasons, although their contract ends in June 2024. “The team has given me confidence, despite the fact that I make many mistakes. I have felt that support, Real Madrid is a very, very special club and I thank everyone who has welcomed me as part of this family. I would like to stay here for many years and help earn as much as we can. I see myself as a better player and a better person than when I arrived”explains Muse.
Tavares: “I’m going to show my hands, without one more contact”
Both are key partsand more in the absence of Deck, Yabusele and Poirier, to face a great Barça in Kaunas that starts as a favourite. “It seems obvious that I am going to play many minutes without other teammates, so I am psyched up. My goal is to avoid personal problems, not commit stupid fouls. I am going to try to always teach my hands, moving them, although without too much contact. It is important to be quick on your feet and not to use excessive force.but be intense and, in attack, yes, try to finish the plays with the greatest possible power”. Musa, for his part, points to the mental factor: “It’s vital, because preparation is one thing and knowing how to get into the game is another”.
Both feel the pressure, although not as something paralyzing. Musa likes to call him “positive pressurebecause it is to achieve something good”. “I look forward to this opportunity and I can’t wait to go out on the field and compete with my family, with my team”. Tavares says not to worry because “There are many people who know how to handle themselves at the moment”. An old guard of veterans who “calm down the rest”. There are only a few hours left for a Clásico of aúpa.