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Smiling and calm before appearing in his first Copa del Rey with FC Barcelona, Ontario born guard and former Gonzaga Bulldog Kevin Pangos spoke to us about the forthcoming event, his adaptation to the city and also some aspects of his more private side.
-You know this tournament from your time at Gran Canària. Can you define it in one word?
Spectacular. It’s a great competition and every team has something to say. It’s an awesome atmosphere and you quickly see how much each game means to each team.
-You’ve played in similar cups in other countries. How is this one different to the rest?
Because of what it means to everyone. In some places, the cup is just a chance to win another trophy, but it’s more intense here. For some people it’s bigger than the play-offs.
-You lost a final with Gran Canària. That’s the beauty of this competition; anything can happen in a single game...
Yes, it’s a huge challenge. For Gran Canària it was a success just to get there and we were pleased even though we didn’t get to lift the trophy. That makes me especially keen to win it this time.
-Are the team favourites, as league leaders and doing well in the Euroleague?
I’ve not stopped and thought about that to be honest. If you have a bad day, you’re out. So there are no favourites and anyone can win.
-What do you need to do against the always difficult València Basket?
We saw how tough they are in the league game. We’ll need a good game; they have some good forwards like Bojan Dubljevic and Will Thomas. We need to do well in defence and play our game.
-What are the other form teams coming into the competition?
Wherever you look, every team has a chance to win it. Our game with Valencia is tough, but the other three quarter finals will be the same for the other teams.
-You and the team are having a good season. What’s the key to it all?
We’re playing well on defence and there’s a lot of energy. Then we need some luck with our shooting but if we’re solid on defence and play with intensity, other things work out too.
-What can you say about Svestilav Pesic?
He’s a great coach. He has been saying since the start of the season that defence is the key to our success. He’ll carry on getting the best out of our game as he has been doing.
-After half a season at the club, what has surprised you most?
The professionalism. Everyone works so hard here on their goals. I love this atmosphere, because I’m like that too and I like to practice before each training session and always work my hardest for the team. That way I always know I have done everything I can even if I have a bad game. I’m very happy at Barça, it’s all great here.
-You room with Kyle Kuric. What do you get up to when you are away with the team?
We're good friends since we were together at Gran Canària. He’s a great room-mate and a relaxed guy. He likes to watches series, like me.
I like watching action and comedy movies and shows. I’m a huge fan of Friends and I’m watching Prison Break at the moment, but I like to get some rest when we’re on the road too. The other players like playing videogames, but to be honest I’m not too good at those.
-What’s your favourite place in the Palau?
I like being on court, but anywhere will do for me. I’d especially pick the 3-point line. I’d like to say slam-dunking, but that’s a bit trickier, haha.
-How’s your Spanish coming on?
I’m learning. It’s difficult. I can understand it but it’s harder to speak it. I’d like to have a private teacher with my wife so we can practice speaking because right now I’m only using apps when we’re on the road. I practice most with the coaches. I want to learn Spanish well and then start learning Catalan too.
What sports do you enjoy apart from basketball?
I watch a lot of American football, and also soccer since I’ve been in Barcelona. I follow Barça, now that I have a team to support. Me and my wife have been four or five times, we always go when we can, but it’s hard to fit it in with our own games.
-And what is the must-see place to visit in Barcelona?
Tibidabo. I love places with great views and it’s spectacular up there. You can see the whole city and it’s really nice. Otherwise, any restaurant, especially if it’s sushi because I love it. I love calamari and octopus too.
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