WELS/GMUNDEN. “I’m sure we’ll get the win.” Gavrilo Tepic, the 21-year-old guard of the Raiffeisen Flyers Wels, speaks pure determination before the fourth basketball semi-final on Sunday (5 p.m.) in the trade fair city. And that despite the fact that the favored OCS Swans Gmunden seem to have all the trumps in their hands with a 2-1 lead in the best-of-5 series. The “Korbjäger” from Traunsee enjoy their first match ball after the recently hard-fought 81:71 home win, the Flyers brace themselves against the threatening end of the season. Almost certainly in front of a full house.
Master in regeneration mode
Around 1100 fans will increase the noise level enormously, the bear was tap-dancing in Gmunden on Thursday too, the cashier was happy about 1387 visitors. So significantly more than the 500 who were present in the capital when BC Vienna reached the final.
The defending champion, who also defeated the Klosterneuburg Dukes 3-0 after Graz, has the regeneration bonus on his side. Enis Murati & Co. are on a nine-day break, while Gmunden and Wels – judging by the words of Tepic – may even meet next Thursday in an all-important fifth derby.
Even Swans CFO Harald Stelzer does not rule out such a showdown, the respect for the Flyers is great: “It’s a big fight, they never give up. You have to give them respect, they don’t make life easy for us. The thing hasn’t been eaten yet.”
That’s how the tireless Wels captain Christian von Fintel (33), who was in each of the three local play-off duels over the full distance on the floor, sees it: “Yes, it’s 1: 2, but we’re only looking ahead . We’ll try to hit back and level the streak.”
That’s easier said than done. Because the statistics speak for the “swans” who have not lost a single derby in Wels this season. In the “regular season”, which ended in first place, Gmunden won 98:87 and 72:68 away from home, in the second semi-final it was 92:84 after extra time. The Flyers’ most recent home win was on April 28, 2022. It was the second quarter-final of the past season – final score 82:67. Sebastian Waser’s protégés need a magical evening like this tomorrow as well.
His counterpart Anton Mirolybov, who is physically affected by this intensive series after his serious illness, wants to prevent that. “We’re preparing for the next fight. We’ve improved and got a lot of little things right. Now it’s time to control the pace of the game,” emphasized the Gmunden coach.