Sergei Ivanov: I Cheer For Great Basketball At The Final Four, Not A Specific Team

Sergei Ivanov: I Cheer For Great Basketball At The Final Four, Not A Specific Team

The VTB United League’s honorary president took questions from the media following the first day of the Final Four.

On CSKA vs. Zenit: The Army Men had a clear advantage in this game. I wouldn’t say CSKA played incredible, but their quality is a bit higher. I congratulate Zenit on reaching the Final Four.

On Khimki vs. UNICS: The second game was very important, especially for Khimki. The EuroLeague was at stake and all the prestige and money that goes with it. It ended up being an intense, exciting game. UNICS hung around all game, but Khimki proved stronger in the end, and I want to congratulate them. On paper, they are stronger than UNICS, and they essentially proved it. But in the final minutes, Khimki showed some nerves, not for the first time vs. UNICS. Khimki has already accomplished its main objective in the VTB United League, and will play very loose in the championship.

On the officiating: No one had any problems with the refereeing today. All of the decisions were professional, correct and timely. That says the VTB League made the absolute right decision by appointing the most qualified referees to such important games.

On the fans: As far as I understand, almost all of the tickets were sold, but fans only came to the game in which their team was playing. There’s nothing you can do about that. It’s the nature of the Final Four. This is our first experience. The VTB Ice Palace is wonderful: Eerything has been organized at a high level and we’ve had no complaints in that regard. 

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On the format: In my opinion, a playoff series is far more objective and fair than a Final Four, but the clubs themselves voted for this format. We will take stock, including a look at the financial numbers: How much did the League earn on the event, how much money did the clubs who didn’t reach the Final Four lose, and discuss at the League board meeting.

On Alexey Shved: Alexey Shved didn’t make a huge impression on me because I judge a player based not on points scored, but field-goal percentage and efficiency. In that regard, UNICS’ Jamar Smith played better and was more productive. I cheer for great basketball at the Final Four, not a specific team.