Basket | Eurocup (Final’s away game)
With his 17-17,5 shoe size and 7 feet 2,6 inches tall he is walking like a steamroller over Russian BC Khimki tonight. Walter Tavares (Cabo Verde, 1992) faces the away game of his first Eurocup final, absolutely focused and willing to do his best in front of 9.865 fans that will pack Gran Canaria Arena. ‘Big’ Edy is conscious of the impact of this milestone appointment for Herbalife Gran Canaria and the island. He does not lose sleep over Russian towers; he is bravely waiting for them.
Herbalife Gran Canaria Center
“I will aggressively play against the Russian and I will make their life impossible”
LA PROVINCIA / LAS PALMAS DE GRAN CANARIA, 24 April 2015
You are a player who has been brought up inside the Claretiano club [Herbalife Gran Canaria] where you have grown up as a player. What do you think of these days with such a milestone date ahead you?
I think of the fact that we have to be very focused, try to seize the day, because what we are living now, it barely happens every day. I will enjoy to the fullest, keep calm and play a good match so people will cheer and support the team, because this is a unique moment for the club and for us.
Out of the basketball court how have you been focused on your day-to-day routines?
I have tried to keep calm and not to think too much of the match, and I have trained everyday so when the day comes, I will be very focused on what I must do.
At the beginning of the season, did you think that you would go so far in the Eurocup?
I always thought if we got through the final, it would be awesome. When we passed the regular season, where I think we had 14 victories, I did think that we could do a bit more that we had done so far.
Are you conscious of what you have achieved so far, not just in the sport field, but to show the name of Gran Canaria around the world.
We definitely are! The club had never gone so far and it is great for us and actually the name of the island, to let people know where it is, that it’s got a good team and there is a fantastic audience here.
“It is great for the club and for the name of Gran Canaria, to let people know where it is and that it’s got a good time”
“Point by point, minute by minute, is a good approach, rivals do not know what our strength is”
Up to the present day in this European competition you have averaged 8.9 points, 72% 2-point shots, 70% Free shots, as well as 5 defensive rebounds and 2.7 offensive rebounds, and nearly 2 blocks. Are you willing to improve these figures?
By all means, always! When the final is looming, the motivation is different. We always try to play each match as it were the last one, be focused and try to do our best, and in the final, much more. You do not need an extra motivation because it’s coming itself.
Gran Canaria Arena will be packed tomorrow [for today], 9.865 people that will encourage Herbalife Gran Canaria to win. Will they the 6th player on the court?
Definitely! Our fans are always the 6th player, because they come every single match to do their best and put themselves in our shoes when we play on the court and support us from the start to the end. I have no complaints against them, because every time they come, they absolutely support the team.
How has Aíto’s strategy been? Have you watched videos of BC Khimki’s game?
We have to play our game, do it well, perfectly so things will be easier, we have to go in the court so focused and aggressively from the start to the end.
Will this match be useful to watch Achilles heel of the Russian rival? Is it important to have a balance between internal and external game, and Aito’s philosophy “Point by point, minute by minute”?
Yes, it is good because rivals do not have clear which one our strength is, that we can play inside and outside, and that is so helpful, because it obstructs their defense.
In the muscovite’s side, among Petteri Kopponen, Marko Popovic y Tyrese Ryce average 41 points from the 6,75-metre line. And the core of their internal game is fed by James Augustine (ex Granca player), Paul Davis, Ruslan Pateev y Maxim Sheleketo. How will you manage to defeat them?
I will try to make my game as aggressive as possible and make their lives impossible, and try to help my teammates if needed.
Aíto already knows how to win Khimki. In 2006 he won the Eurocup for Joventut de Badalona (la Penya). What has he said to the group?
We have to be very focused on what we have to do, because Khimki has a superb potential and excelent players. We have to do it well to get a good result.
Aíto has a wealth of experience in Europe. Is he a plus as a coach?
Yes, he is. he’s got a great experience in European competitions.
Will you stay in a hotel before the match?
In ACB League, yes we do, but not in Eurocup, but we are focused enough that way.
Is NBA your near future?
I don’t know. Until the end of the season I don’t know what will happen.