After firing Ahmed Caki Alba Berlin looked desperate and noone thought they could compete with powerhouse FC Bayern Munich in the quaterfinals of the BBL Playoffs. But after a devestating loss in game 1 (95:68) Alba bounced back and made Bayern work extremely hard to reach the semifinals. Even though Alba Berlin ultimately lost 3-1 to Munich, the team somehow managed to win back the hearts of their supporters and earn the respect of the whole german basketball community.
Interim coach Thomas Päch, who took over after Caki was fired, brought back the spirit and passion the team lacked for most of the season. Alba’s twitter hashtag #mitleibundseele (transl.: with body and soul) finally made sense for the first time this season. One has to wonder why it took so long for the players to break free and play with the kind of energy and effort they showed against Munich. Was it all Caki’s fault that Alba struggled after a 7-game winning streak in December and never fully recovered throughout the season? First of all one has to mention that Ahmed Caki seemed very unfortunate as the team had to handle so many injuries over the course of the season. Just remember: Brandon Ashley, who should have been a keyplayer on Alba’s frontcourt, decided to leave the club before the season even started. Malcolm Miller broke his hand at the end of the preparation and missed the first nine games of the season. That’s two starters out before the season even started. When the team finally seemed to have found their rhythm Peyton Siva, with whom Alba had a 14-5 record, had to deal with a stubborn adductor injury that made him miss most of the second half of the season. Without Siva the team finished the BBL regular season with a miserable 4-9 record. Then just days before the start of the Playoffs Alba’s most important offensive player Dragan Milosavljević suffered a season-ending injury to his elbow. But bad luck aside, retrospectively hiring Caki seems like a big misunderstanding.