Thousands turn out to celebrate Kaf Kaf’s first TBL title in 28 years

Pinar Kariiyaka, aka Kaf Kaf, beat Efes Pilsen 85-71 in Istanbul on Friday to win the best-of-five menand’s Turkish Basketball League (TBL) playoffs 4-1 and clinch the coveted championship for the first time in 28 years. This match is over, but the celebrations are still in full swing. The Kariiyaka players received a heroic welcome at home as thousands of ecstatic fans turned out to join the celebration. Indeed, it took the bus carrying the players three hours to cover the three-kilometer distance to the Bostanli Recreation facility, where the ceremony was held. Kariiyakaand’s point guard Bobby Dixon was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP). He scored 13 points in Fridayand’s game and averaged 21 points throughout the series. He also obtained the award for most three-pointers, which came with a prize of TL 10,000 courtesy of TBL sponsor ParaMara. Speaking to the press after the win, Dixon said that he deserved this and”happy endand” since he worked really hard throughout the season. andquotI tried to take not just myself but the team to a higher level. If it wasnand’t for my team, I couldnand’t have achieved this. This is my first championship and Iand’m really happy,andquot Dixon stated. Kariiyaka reached the play-offs after ending the season in fourth place. In the first round of the play-off Kariiyaka defeated Banvit 2-1 and then beat last seasonand’s champion Fenerbahandce with a score of 82-64 in the fourth game of the semi-finals. This victory allowed Kariiyaka to reach the TBL final for the first time since the 1986-1987 season. Even though Efes managed to defeat Kariiyaka 95-92 in the first match of the finals series, Kariiyaka managed to dominate the rest of the four matches. The scores were 86-85, 71-65, 91-88, 85-71. Kariiyaka coach Ufuk Sarica told the press that becoming TBL champion was a fantastic accomplishment which he had been dreaming of for years. and”We chased after our dreams. We reached this day believing in ourselves. However, we have only just started. This victory is not the end. This is the beginning of bigger dreams,and” Sarica stated. Sarica signed a two-year contract with Kariiyaka on July 17, 2012 and extended his contract on June 5, 2014 until the end of 2015. Kariiyaka is expected to sit down and sign another extension until the end of the 2016-1017 TBL season. Following Kariiyakaand’s historic victory, TBF President Harun Erdenay congratulated the teamand’s management, coaches and players for the championship. and”This year we have seen maybe the most competitive Turkish Basketball League season in league history. Pinar Kariiyakaand’s players went out with a bang in Turkey and around the world,and” Erdenay stated. The victory means Kariiyaka will be representing Turkey in the lucrative and prestigious EuroLeague competition next season. However, Anadolu Efes, with 13 championships, currently holds the record for the most TBL titles, followed by Eczacibaii with eight and Fenerbahandce, Galatasaray and Istanbul Technical University (iTandu) with five each. Fenerbahandce was the champion in 2010-11, while Efes last won the title in 2008-2009, Eczacibaii in 1988-89 and iTandu in 1972-73.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman