After my first trip to Romania - who would have thought that a year later, I am here for the 6th time!
My first Blog entry from Romania got some local people talking - as I mentioned driving on dark roads and coming across horses and carriages, and yes it was different.. but even then I liked it. Now.. on my sixth visit here.. it's starting to be one of my most visited countries.
This weekend I am here covering the Romanian Cup Final 4 weekend in Ploiesti - mainly thanks to Susijengi player Gerald Lee Jr playing for the host team. And as well as covering the games, there is another reason for my visits to see Finnish players abroad... but that will come clearer once the summer goes on :-) But for all the Finnish fans, as well as English speaking readers... it should be well worth the wait!
Although I do love coming here for games, I do have to say that Ploiesti never treats me well with the weather - third visit to this city.. and it's either been freezing cold or raining every time! (unlike Pitesti where I only have sunny memories..)
After flying across most of Europe - I arrived at my 'Ploiesti home' at Hotel Central .. pouring it down from the sky, so I am glad that basketball is an indoor sport! Headed to the Arena to catch up with 'Junnu' and have a good chat about tomorrow's Semi-Final game. As well as looking ahead to a BIG summer for Finnish Basketball.
As the interview is in Finnish - I'll translate few bits of it (hopefully 'G' will be OK with my translations!). Firstly I asked about how he feels ahead of the game tomorrow evening.
"I am feeling good, we've gotten a good week of practise under us - in preparation for these games. We also clinched the regular season (finishing at the top of the table), which was one of our goals for this season.."
Home court advantage, and winning the regular season.. is CSU Asesoft Ploiesti the favourite to win the Cup?
"Probably in other peoples eyes we are, but inside the team we concentrate on our own doings and try not to pay too much attention to the talk. Our game has gotten better in the recent weeks, especially on the defence... so that's where start from tomorrow as well."
What sort of opponent is Energia Rovinari??
"They are a good team, they have three Americans who can score, as well as a big Serbian who is also a scoring threat and grabs rebounds.
How about two games in two days?? A smile comes on Gerald's face as he replies.
"Luckily I got used to that sort of schedule during EuroBasket2013 in Slovenia... I think we had four games in row.."
For the Finnish fans.. you can watch the video interview in Finnish!
Now - hoping for a bit less rain tomorrow.. and of course looking forward to some exciting basketball action!