Vladislav Yemchenko: “Glad that my dear left hand didn’t let me down”

The Loko guard became the main man of the ending of the victorious game against PARMA (89:85) – when the score was equal a minute and a half before the siren, he forced the opponent to foul in attack, then scored two winning points and blocked a potential game-winner by the best opponent's sniper Isaiah Reese. We talked with Vlad after the end of this dramatic game.
– The game with PARMA turned out to be very tense, what emotions did it leave you with?
– Glad we won. I know that we can play better so as not to reach such a nervous ending. In games like this, everything happens quickly. For example, with CSKA everything was in our hands, but we lost it there. And now we managed to hold it against PARMA. Moments like that make us stronger. There were mistakes, but we remained a team and won the game, so congratulations to everyone.
– Do you have the feeling that in this game the details were decisive?
– Yes, I agree. Someone took an extra step in defense there, someone went into challenge here, and helped somewhere else. This may be hardly noticeable from the outside, but then, when you rewatch the replay, you realize that exactly this moment was the key one. But I’m still saying that everyone against PARMA contributed to the victory. I also want to thank our fans. During the warm-up, I saw about 200-300 people in the stands. I thought, okay, it’s evening, a weekday, there will be few spectators. But then in the 3rd or 4th quarter I looked back and saw that the Basket Hall was almost full! It was very motivating, the fans carried us forward. We picked up this energy and won together.
– More and more often you can see that Loko, despite the aggressive play of the opponent and lots of emotions on the floor, keeps a cool head. Is this true?
– If yes, then it’s very cool, because that’s what we’re striving for. There are a lot of moments in the game when you do everything according to tactics, according to the idea. But you don’t score. So, it is very important not to give up, to keep, as you said, a burning heart and a cool head – and play basketball, do what we know how to do. In this regard, we are still on the path of improvement. I hope that we will be in optimal shape for the playoffs.
– How did you manage to outperform your opponent, who leads the league in rebounds, so much – 40 rebounds versus 23?
– Oh, did we? Looked like they were rebounding very well. That’s great! We remembered that at the beginning of the season Ruslan Abdulbasirov grabbed 9 rebounds in our post. That they have a lot of guys who rush hard for the ball – Stas Ilnitsky, for example. So, we gave a lot of attention to this component, sometimes we even played with the big five to make it easier to rebound, so I’m glad that we were successful in this aspect.
– PARMA has former Loko captain Stanislav Ilnitsky and former Loko head coach Evgeniy Pashutin. Did this make your attitude to the game special?
– A-ha, Kirill Temirov scored some special two points over Stas (laughs). In general, Temirov should be highlighted today. He made a great impact in the 3rd quarter, with his energy, slaloms, interceptions. Personally, I was inspired by this, and I think the other guys did too, so Kirill should be called the X-factor of victory. And as for greetings... You know, when Stas was captain and Loko played in the Eurocup, I was his roommate. I learned behavior from him both on and off the court; in many ways he was an example for me, and remains so now. I was very glad to meet both Stas and Evgeniy Yuryevich Pashutin, I’m sure the fans were too.
– What did the coach say at halftime?
– We were trailing by three points, but still understood that we were in control of the game and would still take ours. So, we made adjustments in defense on some players, and slightly diversified our attack, because we found the keys to PARMA’s defense. We began to play a little better and, in the end, as we have already said, the details decided the game in our favor.
– What was your most memorable moment in the game?
– This interview – the longest one in my life (laughs).
– However. Maybe it was your fast break in the penultimate minute, when you scored winning points despite BJ Johnson’s attempt to block your shot?
– Well... I know that BJ Johnson can jump two meters high (laughs). He is also much taller than me, so if I tried to throw with my right hand, he would definitely cover me. So, I decided to play something unexpected. But I don’t want to focus on this; I don’t think there was anything phenomenal. I just played a bit smarter, that’s all. I’m glad that I scored at that moment and that my dear left hand didn’t let me down.
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