“This final, I’m going to watch it five, six, seven times and I’m angry”

“It’s a magical season and I don’t want it to end,” MVP Chima Moneke said Saturday. His teammate Sylvan Francisco was in the same spirit. After a zigzag course (three US high schools without being able to integrate a university due to his school results, passing by a Pro B after a showdown with Levallois), kid Sevran had the most beautiful time of his young career this season. Everything he worked for was achieved in Manresa. Or almost miss one match and one victory.

After the magic of Europe with basketball, the Catalan club stumbled in the last step, as it was defeated in the Champions League final against Tenerife (87-98). Touching close ones, Sylvan Francisco personified the difficult evening for his people, with a slow performance (12 points on 3/11, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 interception, 1 against and 2 flying shots in 26 minutes). Clearly disappointed, he had the advantage of being available to the press for a long time in the mixed zone.

Manresa fails at the foot of the highest step
(Photo: FIBA)

How does Sylvain feel after this defeat in the AFC Champions League final?

It’s hard to lose the final. It was a dream to win the Champions League. I don’t have the real words, I’m disgusted. But as I told the team, we didn’t lose, it’s a lesson more than anything, we learned a lot today, we’ll come out of it stronger.

I was on the ground for a while at the end of the match. Is it hard to digest?

Yes, it will take some time. Of course it is a fading dream. Since the beginning of the year we have been working towards it. Before the Liga Endesa qualifiers, this final was our prize and it eluded us. It’s tough because you think about a lot of things: how we managed to lose, what happened, your individual performance… There are really a lot of questions. You have to move on, but it’s hard to do.

How do you rate your performance? We felt a great desire to do well but an embarrassment…

There was an embarrassment, yes. I felt fine at first. I hid it but I still hurt. But I am someone who does not look for excuses. I thought it would be appropriate, it wasn’t. I decided to be more aggressive, and also on defense to find my rhythm and rhythm and play for others. He was a little better in the second half but this team is hard to catch, as against most teams in ACB.

The Big Three Marcelinho Huertas – Sasu Salin – Giorgi Shermadini released a lot of serenity. When you were talking about lessons, is that the kind of thing that you take away from these experienced guys?

Of course, out of it. This match, I’m going to watch it five, six, seven times. I will definitely watch him get angry. Marcelino is an experienced and well-known player. He is the engine of their team. The way he plays, the way he serves his teammates, is a good thing in real life. Our defensive plan was to avoid his passes away from or towards the shooters because they are all good. We did really well in the first half, and a little later when they started shooting the ball. Especially when we started playing in the area, that hurt us a bit, especially when Saleen came back. We were meant to be man to man at the time, and that didn’t happen.

A duel against MVP Marcelinho Huertas should prove formative
(Photo: FIBA)

How did you find this new form of BCL, with fewer matches but only important meetings. How do you beat this pressured competition as a player?

I have lived well. It’s tough because you sometimes travel to really far away cities. Departs at 6 am, arrives at 7 pm. I remember the flight to Turkey (to Bursa), we landed in Istanbul and there was still three hours to drive. The same in Poland (in Ostrow Wielkopolski). Sometimes you’re in the mood where you say to yourself, “Wow, that’s far…” We definitely play less but when the game comes, we always had the mentality of defending and winning. Most of our opponents put us back in our rhythm and we defended a lot. This is what got us to the final.

How do you see this BCL season? Like quick learning?

I would say more confirmation. Because for me, BCL was a new thing. Especially this year, the level was really excellent and very high. So yeah, it was learning, an affirmation, too. It came out wonderfully. We’ll see what the future holds for me.

Exactly, how do you realize that? We have the impression that you have taken on a momentum that must be maintained this season…

Really, I really want to fix that injury because in real life, I re-opened against Ludwigsburg when I slipped. I had difficulty walking after training, at the hotel, etc. Luckily there was a day off but I still had that little pain that slowed me down in attack and defense. At ACB, I think we’ll do something better. There, we are all bad, not okay. In a few days, we’re facing Malaga, and there’s Barcelona that arrives on Saturday. We don’t have time to stay in this sadness. We have to recover and move on.

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