Moments after the ‘incarnate’ ensemble landed at Lisbon’s Humberto Delgado Airport on a flight from Istanbul, Turkey, which landed at about 15:30 p.m., the Terrell Carter pole was one of the faces of the Reds’ basketball team’s satisfaction.
“I think we have shown that we are capable of competing in all kinds of competitions in Europe. I think it’s very important that basketball Portuguese every year is getting better and better, with new players and high level entering the League,” said the American, prepared to play in the next phase of the basketball Champions.
Benfica reached, for the second consecutive year, the presence in the group stage of the Champions League of basketball with a triumph in Group 1 of the ‘path of the Champions’ of the preliminary phase of the competition, concluded on Friday with a victory over the Norrkoping Dolphins, champions of Sweden.
Remember the incidences of the match
The triumph over the Swedish opponent allowed Benfica to celebrate the qualification as a corollary of a preliminary round played in Antalya, Turkey, where they previously obtained victories over TSU Tbilisi, champion of Georgia (122-62) and AEK Larnaca, champion of Cyprus (87-59).
Just a year ago, the ‘reds’ had become the first Portuguese club to reach this stage of the competition and in this edition the Lisbon club will be part of Group G of the regular phase, along with Galatasaray, from Turkey, Hapoel Jerusalem, from Israel, and PAOK, from Greece.
Winger João Gomes, who the day before had been the ‘MVP’ of the ‘reds’ in the decisive game, with 20 points, expressed all the confidence that the team can impose itself in the group and continue to make history for Portuguese basketball.
“It’s a tough group, but we’re going to continue to do the work we’ve been doing, always true to the way we play and I believe that with our game as it is, with the very modern basketball that we have, we’ll have great chances to pass this group.”
Having reached the European qualification, coach Norberto Alves pointed to the start of competition in the national championship, in which Benfica will face Vitória de Guimarães next Wednesday, but also projected an ambitious participation in the group stage of the Champions League, although warning of the power of the opponents that the eagles will have ahead.
“On Wednesday we started the season (in the league), with Vitória de Guimarães I think it will be important to start here and then (in the Champions League) it will be game by game, knowing that these teams … Those who follow international basketball realize the level at which they walk and what they invest in basketball, “said the coach.
Also, the base Diogo Gameiro identified that it is necessary to avoid euphoria and ensure all the concentration in the opening of the national championship.
“At Benfica, one thing we are used to is that we cannot cling to achievements. This achievement of qualification for the ‘Champions’ has already been, the Super Cup has been happening for a longer time and we will start the championship with Vitória de Guimarães, it will be our main focus,” said the 28-year-old basketball player.