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20:16 GMT +3 hours20 December 2014
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UNICS Coach Plays Down Euroleague Qualifying Hopes

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The coach of UNICS Kazan has played down his basketball team's tag as favorites for the upcoming Euroleague qualification rounds, saying its grueling schedule is a powerful leveler.

The coach of UNICS Kazan has played down his basketball team's tag as favorites for the upcoming Euroleague qualification rounds, saying its grueling schedule is a powerful leveler.

The eight-team tournament begins September 26 in Desio, Italy, with the Russians the biggest names taking part.

UNICS failed to secure an automatic slot into the Euroleague, the continent's top club tournament, with a fifth-placed finish in the Russian league.

"In the qualification games there can be unpredictable results," Aco Petrovic was quoted saying by the UNICS website.

"The selection is very tough, one game lost and it's goodbye to the Euroleague. We have to play every day, and the hosts, [local team Pallacanestro Cantu] will have a day of rest if they win their quarterfinal," Petrovic said.

"I wouldn't underestimate any of the teams," he added.

UNICS plays German team Ratiopharm Ulm in its quarterfinal, with the French outfit Le Mans or the Ukrainians Donetsk being the provisional semifinal opponents.

On the other side of the draw, Cez Nymburk from the Czech Republic play against the Belgians Telenet Oostende, and Cantu face Bulgaria's Lukoil Academic.

UNICS re-signed former Serbian coach Petrovic on a one-year deal in June.

Petrovic coached UNICS from 2007 to 2009, finishing third in the Russia championship in 2008 and winning the national cup in 2009.