You enter the playoffs from sixth place. How do you rate the superstructure part from Pardubice’s point of view?
I can’t just rate the A1 group, because we finished the final tournaments of the Czech Cup and the Alpe Adria Cup there.
Well, what’s your rating of the two Final Four?
I’m happy with both. By winning the bronze medal in the home cup, we achieved the first pre-season goal. I was surprised by the performances in the European Cup. Alpe Adria is becoming a better competition with strong teams year after year. It’s a shame that we had injured players in Slovakia. In the end, we lost in the final.
Energetic coach of Pardubice basketball players Dino Repeša.
Endings lost in the head are not scary
And what do you say to Kooperativa NBL?
We now have the top of the third competition we are participating in this year. After the base game, we were in fourth place and my plan was to keep it at least. It failed, so I can’t be completely happy with it.
In group A1, you were looking for third place. Why retirement?
We had a very demanding program. This was reflected in the end of the match, where we lost four matches, including three in a row lost by two points. We had a chance to win each and even two in Ústí. After two more victories, we finish fourth. On the other hand, the playoffs are much more important. So I will happily exchange all unchanged blows for the winner of the seventh game against Brno now in the quarter-finals (smile).
In February and March, you dropped player after player. Did you also pay for your medical condition?
It is true that he was wrong. In the new year, we had a seven game winning streak in all competitions. Precisely because we were all healthy. Then Šafarčík got injured in the national team and was out of action for a month and a half. In the Final Four in Levice, Potoček broke his arm. We played in a lower rotation and when you add three matches a week, the players were tired. In those matches where we lost by two points, and in fact in the Alpe Adria Cup final, we failed in the last quarter. It was a clear signal that we were tired. However, that doesn’t change the fact that we need to improve the ending.
Is there also a new competition in the basketball playoffs? Is all evil forgotten or can bruised self-confidence manifest?
We will approach the playoffs with a cool head. After each match, I do a video analysis with the players. Let’s recap what we did wrong and highlight the positives. I don’t think we have a mental problem because of lost endings. The important thing is that we are all healthy, except for Potoček after two and a half months. In addition, we expanded the team and Shundel from Ukraine and Vučkovič from Bosnia. We have ten even players.
The young coach Repeša aspires to success: I already want a medal in the Czech championship!
You didn’t go to Pardubice to give up in the quarter-finals. How far is he from your pre-season medal plans?
Nothing changes. We are able to manage the quarter-finals. Brno can be considered a small favourite, but only because they finished three places ahead of us in the table. On the other hand, it is not easy for a team to win four times. With this model, the playoffs are not even an advantage to start at home. Being for two wins can help, but in the case of four the team has to be better than the opponent.
In other words, do you care if you don’t start in the Dašická room?
I do not care. Brno will be under more pressure as favourites. It won’t be easy to win every game at home. We’ll take care of it (smile).
What can decide the series?
On defense, and medical conditions as the series extends to Game 5, Game 6, Game 7. Last but not least, the minds of the players and the whole team.
Log charts before the quarter-final series kick off.
I will try to do more this year
Where is Brno’s greatest danger?
We have played five games together this season. We lost three and won two. Brno has a talented team with a very strong rotation. They had fewer health problems than us. That was the main difference and the reason why they ended up ahead of us. Every game was dramatic. It will be the same in the quarter-finals. Brno plays very well in defense which adds energy to the attack. They have an organized attack and play as a team.
Which player are you most worried about?
I cannot highlight one that is more important than the others. Brno has a solid base five and a bench. He has very interesting players, good foreigners. Their motto is wide rotation. Each of the Brno players can decide the game.
Is there anything else to think about an opponent?
Clearly. We finally had more time to prepare. We worked on some systems in defense and attack. However, you will see it in matches.
Your secret weapon could be new overseas acquisitions. Will it be the famous tongue on the scale?
Both are foreigners, they can bring the mentality of their nations to our game. Vučkovič is good at rebounding and defending. Shundel showed how important it is to us. The problem with him is that he had a long break during which he did not train. Twenty days, because he did not have the opportunity to prepare because of the war in Ukraine. Before that, he played in a very serious team, which was Dnipro, the fourth quality Ukrainian league team. I am very happy that both players strengthened our squad before the peak of the season.
Železný Švrdlík has 266 games on the tachometer. He wants to extend the series until the semi-finals
The battles between Pardubice and Brno can be described as a showdown of young coaches. Why should your philosophy prevail?
I already had the opportunity to play against Růž in the quarter-finals. Last season we and USK lost there in the decisive fifth game. We’ll see now, but game five, game six certainly will. We both have a similar philosophy based on defence, we both like to try something new. I expect tactical battles.
Do you have a particular motivation because Růžička eliminated you?
I have the motivation for every game. So also against Rose. Last year we had the chance to take care of a big surprise, as USK Prague were underdogs in the series. This makes the situation different, because fifth place for USK was a very good result. This year, I will try to invent and do more so as not to end up in the quarter-finals. The series is open.
What current state will you be satisfied with after your first return from Brno?
Win every game, so 2:0 for us (laughs). If it works, I’ll say to myself: great. When it’s 1:1, I’ll be like, okay. And if we happen to lose 0:2, I’ll say to myself: it’s far from over. Basket is a game full of twists and turns. In individual matches and throughout the series.
How will the quarter-finals take place?
I do not know. I got a really bad tip. What I’m going to say is the exact opposite.