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Olimpia is moving on to Berlin, Messina: “We face an extremely aggressive team”


The sixth EuroLeague “double round” of the season takes place in Berlin, Thursday 14 January at 8 pm. Olimpia is 3-2 in the second game of “back-to-back” situations and swept the last double round in Istanbul. With no time to breathe, after beating Real Madrid on the road and Valencia at home, Olimpia will try to build over momentum against Alba whose streak of five defeats is actually bogus because it does not contain the win obtained against Baskonia in a rescheduled game, despite the absences, even the one of coach Aito. Olimpia gathered the remaining energy, practiced on Wednesday morning at the Mediolanum Forum and got back on the road for the game number 41 of the season.

COACH ETTORE MESSINA – “We face an extremely aggressive team, a team capable to play with efficiency and aggressiveness despite some injuries and even while missing Coach Aito. They showed these characteristics in the German league and again during the last game in Istanbul. We know it’s going to be a difficult game. Probably the way we’ll attack their pressing defense and their movement off the ball will be two keys.”

KALEB TARCZEWSKI – “It’s important to stay focus and keep our intensity level very high in order to face a very competitive, energetic team, capable to play with a lot of aggrassiveness and many athletic players.”

THE REFEREES – Christos Christodoulou (Greece), Sergio Silva (Portugal), Sefi Shemmesh (Israel).

NOTES – Gigi Datome has an open streak of 25 free throws made consecutively. Kevin Punter has scored at least one three in each of his last 25 EuroLeague games played and has gone into double figures in 19 of the last 21. Malcolm Delaney has scored at least one three in 13 consecutive games and has had a steal in seven of his last eight appearances. Kyle Hines will play his 300th EuroLeague games against Alba. He is the seventh player to reach the feat after Paulius Jankunas, Felipe Reyes, Vassilis Spanoulis, Juan Carlos Navarro, Georgios Printezis and Nikos Zisis.

KALEB MR. 100 – Kaleb Tarczewski became the first Olimpia player to play 100 games in the EuroLeague or European Cup. In 86 of these games, he started. The feat is within reach of Vlado Micov who has 95. Andrea Cinciarini is at 85, followed by Nicolò Melli with 82 and Mike D’Antoni with 77, one more than Dino Meneghin.

A CAREER-NIGHT FOR DATOME – Gigi Datome tied his personal best of points scoring 27 points against Valencia. He had 27 once in 2016 when he played for Fenerbahce and achieved the feat against the Red Star. It was Gigi Datome’s sixth EuroLeague game with at least 20 points scored. Datome has made 294 career three on 44.21 percent shooting. As of now, he trails only Kyle Kuric as the best three-point shooter in the league.

THE BOMB SQUAD – The 16 threes made against Valencia represent Olimpia’s third all-time performance in the EuroLeague after the 18 scored over Darussafaka on 15 November 2018 and again on Valencia on 15 November 2017.

ALBA BERLIN – The coach is Aito Garcia Reneses, a coach who has been in the breach for thirty plus years and is in his fourth season at Alba Berlin. The guards are Peyton Siva (9.9 points, 5.3 assists), Jayson Granger (8.3 points and 4.7 assists per game), Maodo Lo (9.5 points on 38.3 percent three-point shooting) and Jonas Mattisseck (37.2 percent from three). The small forward is Simone Fontecchio who is scoring 10.4 points per game. The other forward is Marcus Eriksson, a Swedish shooter who has been out for a long time because of an injury. Luke Sikma, the starting power forward (9.9 points on 66.7 percent two-point shooting), has missed the last few games with and injury like the other forward Niels Giffey (he averages 9.8 points per game on 45.7 percent three-point shooting). Louis Olinde and Tim Schneider are also playing valuable power forward minutes. The starting center is Ben Lammers (8.4 points, 3.8 rebounds), spelled by Johannes Thiemann (7.9 points, 4.3 rebounds).

THE BERLIN CONNECTION – Simone Fontecchio played 17 games with 33 points scored over three partial seasons spent in Milan. He is in his first season in Berlin. Shavon Shields played alongside Jayson Granger in Vitoria.