By Cesare Milanti/ [email protected]
In the last few minutes of the third quarter of the game between Reggio Emilia and Pinar Karsiyaka, Andrea Cinciarini took over and went ISO mode against Errick McCollum and his teammates.
He made the most of Nate Reuvers’ umpteenth help in the pick-and-roll situation to create for himself a high-percentage midrange jumper.
It went in, and he celebrated with his fans, showing off all of his attitude in games like these. This was the moment in which Max Menetti’s team clicked to eventually find the thrilling win at the end.
Nate Reuvers, once again, took an important role in the 74-70 victory with a clutch and high-contested three-pointer, giving Reggio Emilia the final lap to seal the deal.
After the win against the Turkish team which went all-in this summer bringing in important players such as Errick McCollum, Angel Delgado, and Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Andrea Cinciarini spoke to Eurohoops about the next challenges for Reggio Emilia.
“We will need the same intensity and grit as tonight to beat Bonn and AEK. In our Group, all four have a chance to move on. We are playing in a really tough group and surely there can be regret on having lost by 9 points with AEK at home or losing by 7 in Pinar”, he said.
The chances are still there, though. “Those can be regrets, but being such a balanced group, we have to think about winning both games, possession after possession. In my opinion, everything will be decided on the last day. It is a group full of talent and great teams, but we want to pass the round. Whether first, second or third”, the former Milan captain added.
The 36-year-old playmaker came back to Reggio Emilia in the summer of 2021 after having played with the red-and-white team from 2012 to 2015, coming very close to a historical Scudetto.
After spending last year with a very demanding coach like Attilio Caja, who brought them to the FIBA Europe Cup final – lost against Bahcesehir -, before the beginning of the 2022-23 season Max Menetti re-joined the team.
The Menetti-Cinciarini duo is a blast from the past for the fans who occupy the seats of the newly renovated PalaBigi arena, and for every Italian basketball fan. But they are delivering.
Despite some roster changes with the departure of Kassius Robertson and the addition of Beka Burjanadze, the Italian team looked more united than ever in the home win against Pinar Karsiyaka.
A big contribution to that came from Andrea Cinciarini, who is averaging élite numbers in this four-game stretch: 12 points, 8.8 assists, and 3.5 rebounds per game.
A player who can take all of his team on his shoulders, building shot after shot without pressure or dishing the ball to his open teammates like very few of his colleagues. He proved that in last season’s Italian championship when he recorded two historical triple-doubles.
Time is passing, but Andrea Cinciarini doesn’t want to preserve himself at all, despite the recent growth of the Basketball Champions League in terms of talent displayed on every team.
“I always try to play at the maximum, it’s not easy to keep these rhythms. I spent a lot of energy against McCollum on defense because I felt the competition and we needed a body on him. Maybe by putting all this pressure on the defense, I lost it a little bit on the other side”, he said analyzing his performance.
He played in the EuroLeague and spent most of his time sharing the ball in decisive Scudetto games, but the competition is still there. “The important thing is to understand what each of us has to put into the court: energy, heart, and desire. Because we go against a lot of strong people who played in the EuroLeague and in high-level EuroCup teams. The level is very high. If you look at the EuroCup and the BCL, I don’t see that much difference. Last year there was a lot more. These are all tough games”, he underlined.
Energy, heart, and desire.
Andrea Cinciarini is cooking the winning recipe for Reggio Emilia.
PHOTO CREDIT: Basketball Champions League
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