Fraport Skyliners head coach Gordon Herbert has seen tough times in Frankfurt, but none worse than what he has seen lately as loses and injuries have pilled up and felt as badly as all the firework rubbish around Central Park and Times Square on New Years Eve. The Frankfurt walked wounded list that sits at the side of the bench looks like the waiting room of a hospital which has effected the play of the club as well as the many games in a short time has also given the team fatigue and heavy legs as Crailsheim noticed with the ever growing short shots that Frankfurt was putting up. With the Fraport Skyliners stuck in a three game losing streak, basketball life doesn´t get any easier as 72 hours after their ugly loss to cellar team Hakro Merlins Crailsheim, the team had to continue to do double duty as they faced top Russian VTB team Lok Kuban who came into the Eurocup in Frankfurt with a solid 8-4 record in the VTB and were well prepared having polished off Stelmet Enea 73-41 and came to Germany with a lot of self confidence with ex NBA player Dorell Wright and Jajuan Johnson and nice role players Jamel Mclean, Trevor Lacey and Mateuz Ponitka. A great winning experience would have done the Fraport Skyliners wonders as they waited for some of the injured players to return and were looking for their first Eurocup win in the second stage as they lost the first game in Ulm. The Fraport Skyliners looked very sharp in the first few minutes, but then allowed Lokomotiv Kuban to play their game and take a big lead and maintain it to the end winning 92-69. The many injuries, turnovers and simply real serious inconsistency plagued the Fraport Skyliners all night long. After the loss ex Georgetown(NCAA) guard Jason Clark tried to explain why his team was unable to put some kind of scare into the Russian team. “We got outgunned tonight. We started out well. But then we had a three minute dry spell and allowed them into the game. I believe that if we had continued to play the way we started, it would have been a totally different game. We have way to many injuries and turnovers. We have been talking about this for weeks. We need to find a way to get it done. We have to find the energy and motivation to get it done”, stressed Jason Clark. The Russian side won their first game in the second stage to move to 1-1 and for long lengths of time displayed excellent team basketball and execution that helped them get the victory as 6 players scored in double figures. After the win ex North Carolina State (NCAA) guard Trevor Lacey reflected on the win and in his tone one could easily notice that it was just another day at the office for the team. “We had a short rotation with some guys missing, but we played together for 40 minutes and executed well down the stretch”, stated Trevor Lacey.
Mateusz Ponitka is a 25 year old 196cm guard that is playing his first season with Lokomotiv Kuban (Russia-VTB). Last season he played with Iberostar Tenerife CB Canarias (Spain-Liga ACB) and played 33 ACB games averaging 13.6ppg, 5.6rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 62.1%, 3PT: 27.3%, FT: 78.4%;and played 16 BCL games averaging 11.1ppg, 3.8rpg, 2.1apg, FGP: 59.0%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 80.0%. He started his basketball career in 2008 with Kasprowiczanka Ostrow Wlk. He then played three seasons with Tempcold AZS Politechnika Warszawa (1Liga). In the 2012-2013 season he made the jump to Asseco Prokom Gdynia (PLK) playing 34 games averaging 8.7ppg, 4.2rpg, FGP: 49.6%, 3PT: 27.2%, FT: 70.7%; and played 10 Euroleague games averaging 8.8ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.0spg, FGP: 61.0%, 3PT: 32.3%, FT: 38.1%. He then played two seasons with Telenet BC Oostende (Belgium-Scooore League), a season with Stelmet Zielona Gora (TBL) and a season with Pinar Karsiyaka SK Izmir (Turkey-BSL). He spoke to germanhoops.com before the Eurocup game against the Fraport Skyliners.
Mateusz thanks for talking to germanhoops.comWelcome to Frankfurt. Two years ago you didn´t make the trip for a BCL game against the Fraport Skyliners. Is this your first time in Frankfurt? What does the city and it´s basketball mean to you?
First time in the city so I cant say anything about it.
In the last six years you have played many times against German teams in international club competition against Alba Berlin, Ludwigsburg and Artland to name just a few. Could you guess if you have a positive or negative all-time record against these teams?
I know I lost once to Alba and once to Ludwigsburg for sure but I believe it´s positive
I will help you. You have a very respectable positive record of 10-3. What do you believe has been your secret to having so much success against German teams?
I don´t know if there is some secret. German teams most of the time play very physical and tough. I like those kinds of games. Plus many times we are coming during the summer with the national team to Germany so there were already few places I played. Unfortunately Frankfurt is my first time.