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U16M Stellazzurra Academy in Estonia for the EYBL Superfinal: on Friday the opening game versus MuKi Helsinki at Tallinn

Pubblicato il Giovedì 28 Aprile 2016 - EYBL / EGBL

 U16 Stellazzurra Basketball Academy men's team is ready to embark on their journey towards Estonia. The EYBL Division I Superfinal will take place in Tallinn and is scheduled for April 29th to May 1st. The team led by head coach Lorenzo Gandolfi will compete in the last part of the 2015/16 European Youth Basketball League season.


The Stellazzurra team managed to qualify for the Superfinal after three stages of regular season, which took place in St Petersburg in Russia, and then Sopot and Przemysl in Poland. At the end of which it was able to take the sixth and last place to qualify, out of 16 teams that participated. In Eastern Europe, its sponsors Orange1 Group and Mollificio Bordignon will again be supporting the Stellazzurra team. Also, a few players from Basket Bassano and ScuBa Frosinone will join the team again for the Continental tournament.


FORMULAE The three days in the Estonian capital is set-up as a direct elimination (in the pic below, the Superfinal Table) for the 10 teams participating, which include: the first six teams ranked in Division I (Stellazzurra Academy, the Lithuanian teams Visi Kartu Vilnius and Birzai, the Latvian teams DSN Riga and Valmieras, and the Polish side Trefl Sopot), the first two ranked from the EYBL in Central-Europe (MuKi Helsinki from Finland and Szolnoki Olaj from Hungary), the winner of Division II (VBL Bruxelles from Belgium) and the host team (Kalev Tallinn). Stellazzurra will play its first game on Friday morning against MuKi Helsinki, undefeated in the Central-European EYBL with 12 wins in 12 games between regular season and the playoffs, which took place in Debrecen, Hungary. The game is scheduled for 9am Italian time, whoever wins will proceed to the quarterfinals taking place that afternoon at 4pm Italian time against the winner between Birziai and VBL Bruxelles. In case of a defeat they will be relegated to a tournament to compete for 7th place. The first two teams in the Division I ranking, Visi Kartu Vilnius and DSN Riga, have directly qualified for the semifinals programmed for Saturday.


ROSSII feel like saying, the finals have finally arrived”, says the Stellazzurra Director of Basketball Operations Giacomo Rossi. “This Superfinal has arrived after a very difficult regular season, logistically and from our results on court, where we just managed to qualify in sixth place because the level of our opponents was high. Now we are going to Tallinn to play game after game, we do not know many opponents, during regular season we lost 4 out of the 5 ranked teams, we hope to have improved our game so that we have a chance against all the teams”. Rossi’s thoughts on their first opponents MuKi Helsinki: “I think this team is quite physical, strong, but as we do not know them well we will need to assess our opponents and react within 1 second. A great advantage that our players have from their EYBL experience is in fact being able to recognize their opponents and the type of situation and consequently reacting straight away. On the other hand, we are pleased to be going to Tallinn as we have never been, and now we can finally say we have covered the whole of Europe. The Estonian capital is a beautiful city with a lovely sports hall, there will be a great atmosphere with a lot of spectators and many scouts coming from the whole Continent”.


COACH Lorenzo Gandolfi, from Emilia Romagna, will once again be head coach for the Stellazzurra U16 team. Here he explains the inherent traps that appear in a competition like the Superfinal: “The teams real values do not show in tournaments like these. What will make the difference is if you are capable of adapting to certain situations, for example, sometimes you are only allowed a 10 minute warm-up before a game, other times not even that… However, in the end Stellazzurra has the same philosophy, which teaches you to constantly be ready to overcome any obstacle. In Tallinn we will play 40 minute games, not 32 as we had been playing for the regular stages, therefore it will all be different. In any case, it will clearly be nice to pass most phases, and so we will give it our all while playing against the other teams”.


Here the Superfinal Table for Tallinn.