Khimki Moscow point guard Charles Jenkins says his club have performed beyond expectations in the 2017/18 EuroLeague season as they prepare to face CSKA Moscow in the first of their playoff matches tonight.
This will be Khimki’s first appearance in the EuroLeague playoffs, with the Russian club shrugging off their earlier struggles to come home in eight place on the regular season table.
“For me personally reaching the playoffs means a lot. Last season with Crvena Zvezda we had that final game against Darussafaka Istanbul to decide which team was going to the playoffs. We got really close, but did not make it,” Jenkins wrote on a blog on the EuroLeague’s official website.
“So I felt a little more pressure this year, games for me felt a little more important because I remember the feeling we had last year leaving Turkey after that loss.
“I think we have done so much this season, but knowing how long the season is, I knew anything could happen. Just look at Baskonia and how they finished with a perfect month of March and in seventh place.
“So, I just didn’t want to forget what happened last season, and it was really important for me that we made the playoffs. And for the club, too. It is the first time for the club and the first time for most of the guys on the team.
“It just felt good; we’ve been through so much, especially towards the end of the season. We had some injuries and a lot of the guys were not 100 percent. It is good we are moving in the right direction for the club.”
The 29-year-old added that he is looking forward to the derby clash with CSKA.
“Now we face CSKA. We have played them five times this season, including once in the preseason. They are one of the best teams in Europe, along with Fenerbahce. It's the playoffs; it's a derby for both clubs,” he wrote.
“They are looking to get back to the EuroLeague Final Four where they have been the last six years, and we are looking to prove we can play against them. They beat us four times this season.
“They have a lot of experience, they are coached well, they are very disciplined. At the same time, we are not going to back down against them just because they beat us before.
“We will try to prepare the best that we can and learn from the games we played them earlier in the season. We will try to make this an interesting playoff series.”