01 September, 2016
30 April, 2017
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Newcomers Oradea now look forward to the next level

ORADEA (Basketball Champions League) – Several of the CSM CSU Oradea fans who filled every seat at the Antonio Alexa arena on Thursday night must have been reminded of the ‘you wait for the bus for hours and then two of them arrive at the same time’ saying, regardless of the mean of transport they used to reach the gym.

The reigning Romanian champions, who had never before advanced even a single round in European competitions, became the only team to go through both Qualification Rounds of the Basketball Champions League in order to reach the Regular Season. A total of eight teams commenced in Qualification Round 1 last week aspiring to pull off this feat, but only Oradea saw the whole process through.

“I want to congratulate my players, they are my heroes and I told them the same thing in the locker room, they accomplished something exceptional during the last ten days,” Oradea head coach Christian Achim said following his side’s 70-58 win over Lukoil Academic that earned the Romanian team the last berth in Group B.

“All of this without Titus Nicoara, who got injured in the Romanian Supercup. Meanwhile Rareș Pașca and Andrei Mandache had missed all of our pre-season due to injuries and they were still not at 100% during the Qualification Rounds. We also lost Martin Zeno for the second half of the second game. This is why my players are my heroes. It was a very difficult path, but we managed to beat two national champions and very competitive opponents.”

“It is an honour to be in the group stage of the Basketball Champions League and to have the opportunity to play against some extremely strong competition. Our goal as professionals is to play against the best teams and we will get to do that chance in this competition. In Group B we will face a different level. This is the next step and for sure everybody involved with our club will be eager to experience this.

“I am also happy that our fans have been exceptional. They deserve at least as much as we do to have the opportunity to witness at least seven home games in this competition,” the Romanian coach concluded.

One of the players who can better appreciate what these two weeks mean for the club is guard Andrei Mandache, who had started his career at Oradea more than a decade ago and after returning he helped them clinch their first domestic LNB league crown in history, last season.

“It is a great honour and achievement for our club and city, shortly after winning the first trophy in our history,” the 29-year-old Mandache said. I am not going to say that this outcome is a surprise, because we believed in our chances and that we are the better team, but for sure it is a very important result to all of us - players, coaches, club and country.

“Playing in the Basketball Champions League is an important step for us. We will enjoy each and every game we play in this competition. I firmly believe we have our chance in this group, even though we will face some of the greatest teams in Europe."”