Quino Colom:
Playing With Langford Is A Pleasure

UNICS recently completed a 3-0 series sweep of Nizhny Novgorod to advance to the playoff semifinals and has no plans of stopping.

Kazan star and Sixth Man of the Year contender Quino Colom spoke with VTB-League.com about his role on the team, what it's like playing with Keith Langford, Kazan winters and the upcoming series vs. Zenit.

- What stuck out to you most from the quarterfinal series vs. Nizhny Novgorod? Was it an easy series?
- No, definitely not. You can't say the games were easy. Nizhny is a very dangerous opponent. We tried to play smart and focused. We found the right balance between defense and offense and managed to finish the series in three games.

- You and Latavious Williams link up for exciting plays every game. The series against Nizhny was no exception. Can you guys read each other's minds? You did play together in Spain...
- We can read each other's minds. We both know what the other guy is going to do next. Sometimes we even think ahead a couple of steps. Last season, we were together at Bilbao and had some success there. We've continued to improve at UNICS. With somebody like Williams, it's easy to work together. He's so athletic, quick and smart.

- The unquestioned leader at UNICS is Keith Langford, who was recently named VTB United League Scoring Champion. How tough is it play with such a big star?
- Tough? It's the opposite: playing with Keith is a pleasure. He's one of the best scorers in Europe. The offensive threat that he brings helps the entire team have better spacing. The defense focuses on him, which means the rest of the guys have more opportunities. We understand each other well and I try to give him as many chances to score as possible.

- You generally start games on the bench... Given your success, does it matter to you?
- No, it really doesn't matter to me if I start or come off the bench. It's not that important in modern basketball. I still get my playing time. It helps create a balance between starters and bench players. I think it's more important to play in the big moments and final minutes than at the start of the game. Overall, all that matters is winning. The more wins, the better. That's UNICS's goal.

- Do you think you deserve the Sixth Man of the Year award in the VTB United League? Who else would you nominate for the award?
- (laughs). It's tough for me to say. To be honest, all the guys that have been nominated are deserving. They are really good players. Just being on the list is already an honor. But winning would be a big deal.

- How tough is it to live up to Evgeny Pashutin's demands? He's known for being a supporter of physical, defensive basketball...
- It's not difficult at all for me to work with Pashutin. His style of basketball is a good fit for us and for me personally. Over the course of the season we've come to understand each other better and better. He gives me the opportunity to be myself and helps me get better.

- Russia is your first foreign experience. Describe what it's been like adapting to the country.
- The adaptation process went much faster than I expected. My teammates and the staff helped me with everything initially. Kazan is a great city and has everything. There is one problem, though: the language. I don't know Russian. Unfortunately, a lot of people here don't speak English. But with the help of an interpreter, everything has become easier for me to understand.

- Had you seen snow before this? Did you expect winter to be this cold?
- I'm used to the snow. I was born in Andorra and we can have a lot of snow in the winter. But it's not as cold, of course. I tried to go outside as little as possible during the winter in Kazan.

- Who are you closest to on the team? You've got pictures with Arturas Milaknis and Marko Banic on your Instagram...
- We have a great atmosphere on the team. It's true that I spend a lot of time with Marko Banic and Arturas Milaknis. Marko and I knew each other from the Spanish league and he speaks Spanish. Overall, it's a great group and we have a great time together. Sometimes we have dinner with Williams and Anton Ponkrashov.

- Your opponent in the semifinals is Zenit. What do you need to do to beat St. Petersburg?
- First of all, we need to play smart, powerful basketball. It's really important to win at home. That's the key to the series. Our opponent is playing great right now, so it won't be easy.

- UNICS defeated every team in the league except CSKA during the season. If you meet the Army Men in the finals, what will you do to surprise them?
- We need to think about the upcoming games and not get ahead of ourselves. We have a series with Zenit coming up. CSKA still has to play Khimki. We are facing a very strong opponent in the semifinals and need to be ready for each game in the series.