Real Madrid basketball team coach Pablo Laso on Tuesday said that he would sign Nick Calathes of Panathinaikos if Calathes scored for 50 points, 25 assists and 25 rebounds in their upcoming quarterfinal of the Euroleague.

"I will sign him. Although if he makes those numbers, it will be difficult to win," Laso said. "Talking about a player is absurd, Calathes is one of the best players in Europe but in the end, this is Real Madrid-Panathinaikos and it is ridiculous to think about players over teams," the coach stressed. Following Madrid's training session at Valdebebas Sports City ahead of Wednesday's clash, Laso discussed "one of the most difficult moments of the season."

"We'll measure ourselves against one of the best teams in Europe and my team is well prepared. Obviously (Sergio) Llull, a key player, will not be there, but we have prepared well for the last two weeks," the 51-year-old added. "Panathinaikos deserves a lot of respect. They had a very good and solid finish at the league stage, they are very strong physically and that forces us to be very focused at every moment of the game," Laso added. The Spanish capital side is set to play a repeat of last season's quarterfinals against the Athens team, but the Spaniards will have the home-court advantage in the first two games this year.

"It is important to be able to count on the fans backing. It is an advantage we have gained," the Spanish manager said. With Llull being absent, Laso explained that it will be important to have Facundo Campazzo but Campazzo does not have to play the 40 minutes.

"There is always a game plan but half of it cannot be applied," the coach said. "The team has to remain calm."

According to Laso the arrival of manager Rick Pitino at Panathinaikos was "a surprise for everyone."

"He is a coach of great name for what he has done in the United States. What is clear is that he has changed the style of Panathinaikos with respect to when Xavi Pascual was in," Laso concluded.EFE

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