Iberostar Tenerife expect even tougher competition in Basketball Champions League title defense
MIES, Switzerland (Basketball Champions League) - Excitement is growing among the players, fans and management of Iberostar Tenerife as they prepare to defend their Basketball Champions League title in 2017-18.
Tenerife, who enjoyed their most successful season by winning the Basketball Champions League and finishing fifth in the Liga ACB, were the first Spanish team to confirm its participation in this year’s competition and team captain Nico Richotti knows they will have to step up as the competition becomes even stronger.
"Competition is going to be more intense than a year ago and the field even stronger, more powerful in general," he said.
"But, at the same time, we have even more will and determination than for season 2016-17. That was an unbelievable year. We were making history in 2016-17. That was a unique season and now we are making history again. As Basketball Champions League winners, we're going to defend our title with our souls."
Tenerife fans played a major role in making their Basketball Champions League home games and the home court of the Final Four so memorable. Top Fan Alexis Navarro Armas is delighted his club will be back for more.
"This is terrific," he said.
"We have to remember what a big hit the Final Four of the Basketball Champions League was for our club and for our Island and congratulate everybody involved.
"Tenerife being in the Basketball Champions League was beautiful and a great idea since the very beginning. We have to congratulate our club and wish them all the best for 2017-18."
Tenerife know they will face stiff opposition as they fight to retain the title. Top clubs from the Greek and Italian leagues have already underscored their commitment to the competition by announcing they will return for 2017-18 while further teams from Spain and across Europe will be announced in the days and weeks ahead as domestic league business is completed.
"The level of engagement being shown by clubs signing-up for the new season is remarkable," said Basketball Champions League CEO Patrick Comninos.
"Those which had a taste of Basketball Champions League action last year are really excited about the prospect of challenging for the title and the increased level of €1 million prize money in 2017-18.
"In the coming weeks we will announce more teams returning to the competition as well as those whose final league positions have earned them the opportunity to compete for the first time. One thing is for sure – the Basketball Champions League will have a fantastic range of clubs that truly reflect the passion for basketball right across Europe."
The Basketball Champions League was a major success in its inaugural season. It was established to provide European club competition based on sporting merit with qualification dependant on performance in national leagues. This year, 32 teams will contest the Regular Season with eight qualifiers joining 24 directly qualified clubs. They will play in four groups of 8 teams each with the top four in each group going through to a home and away Round of 16 ahead of the Quarter-Finals which will determine the Final Four.
The Final Four weekend will be hosted in the home city of one of the qualifying clubs.