17.01.2003
Today CSKA will play its final game before the break for national team games. The meeting with Ural-Great should be a true treat for fans. It’s not for nothing that tickets to the game at the Molot arena were sold out almost two days before game-day.
Club News
Ural Great vs CSKA: a true treat for fans
Today CSKA will play its final game before the break for national team games. The meeting with Ural-Great should be a true treat for fans. It’s not for nothing that tickets to the game at the Molot arena were sold out almost two days before game-day. Those who would like to watch the game,
however, will be able to watch the game live on television. On TV, as opposed to in the Molot arena, the Red and Blue will have the advantage.

Should CSKA win, or not lose by more than five points, then they will remain in first place in the tournament standings. If Ural-Great wins by six points or more, then they will move into first place. Over the past two seasons, CSKA vs Ural Great games have been of great importance (these are the only two teams to have ever won the Russian Championship), but there has never been one which directly determined the first place position during the regular season.

CSKA arrived in Perm on Friday at 21:00 local time. Fourteen players traveled with the team. They are: forwards Darius Songaila, Sergey Panov, Viktor Khryapa, Sergey Monya, and Andrey Sheyko; centers Aleksander Bashminov, Aleksey Savrasenko and Victor Alexander; guards John Robert Holden, Nikolas Chatzivrettas, Teodoros Papaloukas, Evgeniy and Zakhar Pashutin, and Nikolay Padius.

Center Aleksander Bashminov, who injured his ankle in the previous Euroleague game against ASVEL, has already recovered. He hasn’t missed one practice.

CSKA arrived in Perm by charter and stayed in the Ural hotel. There was no practice session in the Universal Sport Hall Molot before the game. The practice was planned for 11:00am local time, but it was called off so that the players would not feel the effects of the time change too seriously. When it’s 11am in Perm, it’s 9 in Moscow, meaning the players had to wake up earlier in order to get breakfast.

Today’s CSKA vs Ural Great game is the 20th between the two teams. The Army team leads in the overall results, 8-12. In Perm CSKA has only won two out of ten. But the results can be read differently. CSKA General Director Sergey Kushchenko has 13 victories to his credit in these games. Twelve with Ural Great, and as of now one with CSKA.

The only player who has participated in all of these games—with the exception of one—is CSKA forward Sergey Panov. We asked him to tell our site what to expect from Ural Great: “the Perm team, like all teams under Sergey Belov, places emphasis on physical preparation, and that means they will get out and fastbreak. Plus, they have excellent shooters like Shannon and Koubrakov who are very difficult to stop if they get hot. But the team has a tough time if their leaders don’t play well, and that’s the main weakness of Ural Great.

- It will probably be difficult for you to play against your former club. Having played two years for Ural Great, Sergey Belov had a lot of time to get to know your game.

“When I first left CSKA, I thought that Eremin, having coached me for so many years, would show UNIKS how I play and that I wouldn’t have any breathing room whatsoever. However, after the first game, I read in the papers that Eremin was surprised at Panov’s game. So it’s difficult to answer that question with any certainty. Besides, my role in the team has changed. If at Ural Great I was one of the leaders, then at CSKA I would say I’m more like the setter in volleyball.”

- How do you think the Ural Great fans will greet you?

“I hope that it will be a warmer reception than for Papaloukas in Greece.”

-Do you think if you play well against Ural Great that national team head coach Sergey Elevich might change his mind and put you on the team?

“It doesn’t matter to me. I don’t want to play for a team that doesn’t want me. Elevich and I already had an agreement that I won’t play in the upcoming games against England and Italy, but I wasn’t expecting for it to be framed as the head coaches decision because of my supposed poor play and playing time.”

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