The pivot of the national basketball team, Ondřej Balvín, will leave Japan and play for Ukrainian BK Prometej, where he will be led by the coach of the Czech national team, Ronen Ginzburg. The club announced the signing of the 217 cm tall player on its website. The 29-year-old basketball player returned to Europe after his one-year contract with the Gunma Crane Thunders team.
“I have several offers on the table, but this is the most attractive. It makes sense to me from the point of view that the EuroCup will be held there and Neno (Ginzburg) will be there. That is another factor in favor,” Balvín said in a statement from the PPG Sport agency, which represents him. “When I have a coach I can die for on the court, I’m ready to play anything and play my best basketball under him. I proved that recently with Nen in the playroom,” added Balvín.
Balvín will play in the Latvian-Estonian league with Prometej, based in Riga because of the war in Ukraine. Last year’s Ukrainian champions escaped Russia’s invasion of the Czech Republic at the end of last year, where they played one match in the Champions League. But then they withdrew from the competition. In the coming year, Prometej will play in the EuroCup, which is organized by Euroleague Basketball as the second competition after the European League.
“I aim to build on the good seasons I’ve had in Europe over the last x years. I’m looking forward to the EuroCup, which is the second best competition in Europe, and we want to be the dark horse of the competition. I think with the team we’re building , we can do it,” said Balvín.
Last June, Balvin became a rookie in the Japanese league and played in 36 games averaging 10.7 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. The former USK Prague player previously worked in Spain, where he played for Sevilla, Estudiantes, Gran Canaria and Bilbao, in Germany he wore the jersey of Bayern Munich.
“He is a real giant that we are missing. He can assert himself in attack and defense. Our coach Ronen Ginzburg knows him well from the Czech national team, with whom he was last year in Olympic Games,” its president Volodymyr Dubinskyj said on the club’s website.
I had to completely change my style, Balvín said about his first season in Japan