Waking up this morning was quite a shock as overnight fell about 20cm-30cm of snow. The city looked a bit paralyzed and this sudden weather change had also an impact on the schedule of my day as we initially planned to attend OKK Belgrade versus Mega Vizura in Pionir Arena. But the long drive throughout the city was probably to difficult so we cut this out of the program.
- The day started with a devastating first half between Crvena Zvezda and FMP were the host dominated easily. So the decision was quickly taken to move to the 2nd gym for the game between Buducnost and ASVEL. What looked at half time like a done game already with Podgorica up by 20, developed into one of the most intensive half-times of the tournament. The French team came back into the game and could even take the lead in the 2nd half behind a great effort of Lambert Diacono who scored 26pts and 8rebs. Podgorica had some rowdy support in the stands and their effect on the referees may have decided the game in the end as the calls that came in favor of ASVEL disappeared in the last 2 minutes. Luka Radovic did a great job for the Montenegrins with 26pts and 12rebs.
- Brose Baskets could not defeat Hemofarm as the German team played without Philipp Neumann who had a slight foot injury and sat out. So I preferred to watch the game between Partizan and INSEP which was quite a good choice. Mathis Keita showed his great scoring potential as he finished with 19pts, 6rebs, 4asts and 2 steals. He made the big shots from behind the arc but Partizan fought back in the game and had the opportunity to either win it or go to overtime but their two last attempts just missed. Vukasin Vujovic had 11pts and 10rebs (7 offensive boards) while Nemanja Besovic finished with 8pts and 10rebs.
- The play-offs for the places 5-8 started with a massive game by Philipp Neumann who established the probably most impressive individual performance of the tournament so far. The German Center finished with 33pts, 14rebs, 4stls and 6blks which gave him an Efficiency Rating of 52. ASVEL, that played without Gide Noel could not really match the size of Neumann and the foul trouble of Lambert Diacono did not help them either. The athletic French forward connected for 20pts though in just 16 minutes of action. Hemofarm beat Crvena Zvezda in the other game so that they will face Brose Baskets in the game for the 5th place.
- The first semi-final saw the victory of FMP over Partizan behind a good team effort where nobody really stood out. Nemanja Bezbradica continues to do the dirty work in the paint while the others try to shine around him. Vasilije Micic took over the Starting PG job since the injury of Zivkovic and he is doing a really nice job. In the semis, he went for 10pts, 2rebs, 2asts and 4 steals combined with a relentless effort on defense. Partizan was lead by Nemanja Besovic who had probably his best game of the tournament as he finished with 16pts and 7rebs.
- The second semi-final, that we unfortunately could not watch because of the schedule saw the victory of INSEP over Buducnost behind the effort of Mourad Benkloua who had 18pts and 8rebs.
- As I won’t be able to assist the games of the final day, I will give my All-Tournament team already right now.
PG – Mathis Keita (INSEP)
SG – Marko Mugosa (Buducnost)
SF – Nikola Pavlovic (FMP)
PF – Nemanja Bezbradica (FMP)
C – Philipp Neumann (Brose Baskets)
- Detailed reports on the main players will follow during next week.