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Stars from Turkey’s two largest clubs, Beşiktaş Cola Turka and Galatasaray Café Crown, were interviewed by Milliyet before their historic ULEB Cup quarter final match. Over pizza, ambitious statements about their eternal rivalry were flying sky high.

In my heart, I really want to see these two teams in the final, but unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be because of their matches in the ULEB Cup quarter final series.... The worst thing is that one of the rivals, either Beşiktaş Cola Turka or Galatasaray Café Crown, will bid farewell on the first day of the tournament...  The best part is that at least one of the teams will carry a waving Turkish flag into the semi finals...

Whatever happens, the advance of both Beşiktaş Cola Turka and Galatasaray Café Crown into the quarter finals of the ULEB Cup will be “historic” and will arouse a “flurry of emotions” in their fans that will remain in their memories for many years…

Not since Torino, where the 1993 Efes Pilsen team played against Aris and lost the “eventful” Winner’s Cup Championship “by a hair”, has there been such a page in basketball history. This time, the match to be held on April 10th will throw off the past with the exciting contest between the two rivals.
   
The ace players that will be in the line-up for this historic match are Beşiktaş Cola Turka’s Sinan Güler, Rick Apodaca and Preston Shumpert and Galatasaray Café Crown’s Cüneyt Erden, Dee Brown and Charles Gaines.  The “final training session!”  that took place before an adventure in Italian cuisine was organized with the participation of the Milliyet organization. While the players ate the famous Italian dish, pizza, Shumpert and Gaines gathered a lot of admiration from their team mates for their talents on the court!...  

The six players have not had very many opportunities to get together apart from their two huge matches in the league and the longstanding rivalry between the two teams was apparent and the players at the interesting gathering didn’t waste any opportunity to make “evocative” remarks and engage in bantering repartee. While Gaines was making promises to buy the whole Beşiktaş team pizza after a Galatasaray victory over them on April 10th, Shumpert commented jokingly, “That means we’ll all go hungry!  We will be better off if we take care of things ourselves.”

BEŞİKTAŞ COLA TURKA

PRESTON SHUMPERT


“This is an extremely important match for these two teams and for Turkish basketball. Both of the teams have been very successful in getting this far. To tell you the truth, I would have preferred to play them in the final. It’s a tragedy for both teams that one will be eliminated after our game.  The team that plays the best will advance to the semi finals. Of course I hope with all my heart that it will be Beşiktaş, which has become a part of me. I can comfortably say that we are lucky to be competing against Galatasaray. I hope we play well and come out as victors.  If we succeed in that, we still won’t have accomplished our mission. We want to go all the way to the Championship.”

SINAN GÜLER

“This isn’t just about us, it’s a historic match between our two clubs so I am certain that all of fans of both clubs will turn out to watch.  As Beşiktaş, we don’t think about anything but winning. It’s a fact that Galatasaray is fighting to get to the final in Torino just like we are.  I think it will be an enjoyable and hard-fought match. If I had to comment, I would say that we have a greater capacity for winning.  Galatasaray is a strong team, with or without Hüseyin Beşok. I see Beşiktaş going to the semi final. We want to make our fans very happy one more time, by advancing to the semi finals and then taking the championship.”

RICK APODOCA

“This game is one of the most important matches of my career. At the same time, t is also a turning point in Beşiktaş history. As a team, I think we are ready for this difficult game.  We have already demonstrated in our regular season matches that we are a worthy candidate to win the cup.  Now it’s time to comment on that.  We respect Galatasaray. Brown, Gaines, Owens, Cüneyt and all of their other players make it a quality team. However in a face to face contest, I think that Beşiktaş will come out a step ahead. Consequently, I believe we are going to win this game, advance to the semi final and take the championship.”

GALATASARAY CAFE CROWN

CHARLES GAINES


“My opinion is that if we play well and show our real personality on the court, our chance of winning will be excellent.  Of course we need to have good motivation, and have to go on the court prepared, both physically and mentally.  We are a great team; otherwise we wouldn’t have advanced to the quarter finals. I want to stress once again that we will defeat Beşiktaş. We respect our opponents. However, I believe that if we play well we will be the winning team. It seems illogical for me to guess the odds. We aren’t sure of Hüseyin’s condition and that is a disadvantage. But if the team is well-motivated and goes onto the court prepared Beşiktaş might have a chance.”

DEE BROWN

“It’s really great for both Turkish basketball and our team to advance to the quarter finals of the ULEB Cup alongside Beşiktaş. As a matter of fact, I think the Turkish League is the strongest league, after the NBA and the Spanish League. We are having a genuinely good season and we have an excellent bunch of players. We have proved this in the matches we have played up to now. It would be wonderful to have any Turkish team play in the semi-finals, but we really want that team to be Galatasaray. So we want to make a good showing against Beşiktaş and advance to the semi finals. We have the power to succeed in doing that.”

CÜNEYT ERDEN

“The first thing we have to do is to stop the other team’s hard-hitting players.  Quality players like Apodaca, Shumpert, Dalmau and Sinan are very talented. Our defense has to be unrelenting and we have to think carefully about our offense. We did that in the game we played at Beşiktaş in the first league match. We can repeat what we did then. Hüseyin Beşok’s ability to play is very important for us but he will arrive in Italy without having trained for a while.  Even without him, I think we have the ability to win the game.  There are no favorites in a game like this.  We all got here step by step.  I hope we will continue on to the championship in the same way. I wish we could have met Beşiktaş in the final.”

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