Velimir Perasovic: «Many teams have become much stronger than they were in last season»




BC UNICS head coach Velimir PERASOVIC shared his impressions of the victory in the opening match of the VTB United League regular season over Lokomotiv Kuban (91:73), appreciated the debut of the newcomer of the white-greens Ismael BAKO, revealed the reason for the departure of some players in the summer, and also answered a question about the prospects of the Kazan team to defend the title.

– It was important for us to start the championship with a victory, especially after an unsuccessful performance at the pre-season Super Cup. Today we came out with a lot of energy and showed a good game, especially in the first half. I am happy that we managed to please the fans with a positive result.

How do you rate Ismael Bako's debut with UNICS?

– I think Ismael will be an important player for our team. We prefer to sign young basketball players who have the prerequisites for growth. Of course, Bako is one of them. Last season, the center played in the Euroleague. Throughout the match against Lokomotiv Kuban, Bako defended well.

Today, the Belgian had problems only when he was playing number four, being on the court at the same time as Reynolds. However, this is understandable, since a power forward is not his position. In defense, Bako covers a lot of things due to his size. We need to find a way to use it as effectively as possible on the site. Both he and we need time.

Could you please comment on the summer transfer campaign of UNICS and Lokomotiv Kuban?

– Obviously, some players left us not because we wanted them to. They had a good season and received improved financial offers that we couldn't repeat. But that's the reality. Lokomotiv-Kuban retained the same roster, making several point reinforcements. Therefore, in theory, we have a new team compared to the Southerners, so we need more time to adapt.

In my opinion, Loko is now in the best shape among all the participants of the VTB United League, because in the Super Cup they looked stronger than the rest, even Zenit. We need to work hard to come fully prepared for the crucial part of the season.

How hard will it be for UNICS to defend the championship title?

– CSKA, Zenit, Lokomotiv Kuban also want to become champions, but only one team can win the VTB League. Each of us starts the season with the same ambitions and will work in this direction. We will try to do our best – that's the only thing I can promise.

All teams are now preparing to UNICS as the reigning champion. How difficult is it for the team to cope with this pressure?

– I don't think that anything will change in relation to us from the opponents compared to last season. In theory, there are 4 top clubs in the VTB United League, and everyone wants to beat them. From what I see this year, the other teams have become much stronger than in the last championship. Therefore, in the new season, the number of defeats for all clubs will increase.