Romeo Travis - Be Proud

Hello, Eurocup fans! This is Romeo Travis of Khimik Yuzhne, getting ready for the elimination rounds! We will face Aykon TED Ankara. We had to win our final Last 32 game against Strasbourg and expect Alba to beat Radnicki, which is what happened. We are very happy to be able to play in the next round. We started the Last 32 really, really well and it was so promising but then

we lost three games in a row. Our good start gave us a chance late and thankfully, we played well when we needed to. We controlled the whole game and it was just a good team win! I didn't follow Alba's game while we were playing ours, because I think that's bad luck! I don't want to pay much attention to things that I can't control. It can drive me crazy! So I just waited to see what happened. I got a text message saying that we advanced, and here we are!

Where we are to start the eighthfinals is Istanbul. Game 1 against Aykon TED Ankara was moved here due to the situation in Ukraine. It was supposed to be our home game, but I understand that the game had to be moved. I hope there will not be many Ankara fans in Istanbul and the venue will be neutral. Maybe some Khimik fans can even come and see us play! One way or another, we have to play hard and it doesn't really matter where. We have to go out there, play as a team and try to get a win. Playing this game outside Ukraine is not the end of the world. Personally, I like playing on the road because it helps me to focus more. Your schedule is more set and it is easier because everything is done for you - food, practice... Everything is easier when you are on the road - at least for me! People may think differently. We will see how it goes but I think that either way, it is going to be a good game and we will go to play hard and try to win.

We played really well in our final Last 32 game, against Strasbourg, and that's a good sign. We had a team meeting, guys came in and said what they wanted to say, getting things off of their chests. It was a good team win - everybody came in focused, knowing what we needed to do as a team. It was not about individuals, but a great team effort. I was just proud of everybody for giving up a piece of themselves and getting to the next round, which was needed.

We already played against Ankara in the regular season. They are a really good team with a lot of veterans. They have Vladimir Golubovic, one of the best big men, if not the best big man in the Eurocup. This is the type of player that you cannot stop. What you try to do is work against everybody else. He is so good that he is going to get his 20 points and 10 rebounds. We have to try to limit everybody else's points so that they don't beat you. They beat Bamberg with only five people scoring. Those are the type of things that we cannot allow to happen. We have to limit everybody else, as well as not let him go crazy like he always does.

We actually beat them in Ankara earlier in the season, but I don't think that game matters now. That was a long time ago. It was the beginning of the year, we are a different team now and so are they. A lot of different things have happened since then. We can't put too much on that game because it happened in October and the next game against them will be in March! We are totally different team and they are playing so much better now... That game happened: you take some things from it, you learn some things, but you cannot put too much on it because there are too good of a team and so much has changed since then. If you try to go back and repeat the same game, we will lose.

Two Ukrainian teams are in the elimination rounds, which is great. Basketball is really good in here. I didn't know how good it was before I got here. The country is under a very difficult time but people want to watch us play basketball. You just come in and get your mind off things for a while, let them be free - because there are a lot of things they are stressed about. Personally, I am trying to be the best player I can be to represent this team to the best of my abilities.

I want to encourage all Khimik fans to watch us play in the game against Ankara. It is big for us because we want to bring light to this country in difficult times. We are going to try to bring some positivity to the country right now in the best way we know how!

So, Khimik fans, let's get this win together! Be proud of your team!

Romeo Travis - Yuzhne, Ukraine