The basketball season 2018/2019 has just ended for the Presidential Basketball Club «Astana», which means that it is time to make conclusions.
«The achievements of “Astana” in the past season are the common heritage and we want people to be proud of them with us»
General Manager of PBC “Astana” — Valery Alekseevich Tikhonenko
VTB United League.
The main achievement of “Astana” in the past season without a doubt had been a successful performance in the VTB United League. If last season «Astana» didn’t get into the playoffs, taking 10th place in the regular season with 7 wins, then this season the Kazakhstan team started very well, winning 7 matches out of 10 before the New Year. Moreover, at the end of 2018, Anthony Clemmons became the MVP in December. After the New Year holidays, “Astana” started not so successfully, but then again accelerated and continued its excellent performance. Our team repeated its record of 13 victories in the regular season already in March, and finally showed the best result of 15 wins (57.7% — also the best result).
The capital team taught everyone to fight to the last seconds of every game. Already in the 3rd match of the season, «Astana» made an incredible comeback and defeated «Zenit», losing 19 points in the course of the game. No less important were winning over the strongest teams of the League on the road against «Loko» from Krasnodar and in a home match against Kazan “UNICS”. Quite often, “Astana” had been starting a game not too successfully, but thanks to the changes that the coaching staff introduced during the game, the team managed to recoup and win strong-willed victories.
As for the coaching staff, Emil Rajkovic’s contribution to the team’s progress did not go unnoticed and he was recognized as the best coach of the VTB United League championship season 2018/2019. The award ceremony took place in Nur-Sultan before the third match of the quarter-final of the playoff series between «Astana» and «Khimki» from Moscow region. The prize was presented to the coach by the Secretary-General of the National Basketball Federation of the Republic of Kazakhstan Alen Tanatarov and «Astana» General Manager and Olympic Champion Valeriy Tikhonenko.
“Astana” participated in the last season of the National Championship as the current champion, and for the previous two seasons, the team did not suffer a single defeat in the home championship. The capital team continued this tradition this season as well. Of course, one cannot say that all games were easy for our team, and there were no matches that went in a tough fight. What certainly speaks about the good level of competition in the National League and that «Astana» should always be in good shape to maintain its high level of play. But our guys coped, winning the whole match in the regular season, and also completed the playoff series without defeat. As a result, “Astana” became the Champion of Kazakhstan for the seventh time and with it the most awarded men's team of the country.
In the Cup of Kazakhstan, the capital team also won the main trophy. Despite the difficult start in the match against Kostanay «Tobol», which resulted in the victory of «Astana», our team found its game and scored confident victories in the remaining matches. And as a result, the seventh Kazakhstan Cup went to Nur-Sultan on the shelf of the trophy of «Astana».
Our club has been the base for the Men's National Team of Kazakhstan for quite a long time now, and the basketball players of «Astana» are at its backbone. Renatas Kurilionokas from the coaching staff of our team led the National Team this season, which continued to fight for the finals of the World Championship. Despite the fact that our team was a step away from the World Championship, the game of the Kazakhstan National Team deserved special attention in the Asian qualifying round.
Nevertheless, our players are talented not only in classic basketball. At the end of May, the Asian Basketball Cup 3x3 ended, for which Ruslan Aitkali, a young player of «Astana», performed for the men's team. Ruslan, along with teammates, repeated the best result of the men's teams in this tournament, becoming the fourth in Asia. In addition, Ruslan became the highest-scored player in the Kazakhstan team, and also took the third position in the entire tournament and all the teams by points, giving the leader only 2 points.
One shouldn’t forget about the head coach of Astana’s Children's Basketball Academy Dejan Parijanin, who this season led the men's U-16 Kazakhstan National Team. Dejan and his team won the 2019 Victory Cup in Bishkek. But much more important was the victory in the qualifying tournament of the Central Asian region for the Asian Youth Championship.
“Astana” this season became the seven-time Champion of Kazakhstan, the seven-time winner of the Cup of Kazakhstan, which made the club the most award-winning men's team in the history of Kazakhstan. Our coaches performed quite well, leading Kazakhstan teams. «Astana» has held its best season in the VTB United League, moreover, our head coach won the prize the Best Coach 2018/2019. This season of the Kazakhstan leading basketball team will remain exactly like this in the history of Kazakhstan basketball.
We are pleased to be part of the huge family of «Astana» Presidential Professional Sports Club, we are very grateful for the support of our General Partner «Samruk-Kazyna» National Welfare Fund and our Social Partner «Samruk-Kazyna Trust» Social Project Development Fund. We hope for long-term cooperation and in turn, we will strive for even greater sporting results and achievements.