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Stella Azzurra Città di Roma Tournament (Day 2)

December 29th, 2009 · No Comments

I arrived this morning in Rome to cover the first NIJT Qualification Tournament of the season. The tournament organized by Stella Azzurra Roma features 8 teams that compete for one spot at NIJT to be played in May in Paris. After Day 1 updated through Twitter, here is my short report on what happened on Day 2 of the tournament.

  • The day started with a double overtime win for Benetton Treviso which meant the qualification for the Final for the Greens. However, they paid a hard price for this as their top player Alessandro Gentile went down with a foot injury 2 seconds before the end of the game. He went to hospital and was back in the gym for the afternoon game of his team with a cast and crutches. Before, Gentile came from a very strange performance where he took 19 three pointers in the game but scored only 2 of them, both in the overtime to win the game. He got some big support by Croatian Armin Mazic who brought Benetton back into the game when Gentile was on the bench in the second half. For the Russians, it was their inside duo composed of Alexander Tikhonin and Andrey Loginov who both scored 22pts that were leading the team.
  • FMP Belgrade had not that much of trouble to beat Lottomatica Roma behind a nice performance of the athletic Nikola Siladi who finished the game with 16pts and 9rebs. Nenad Miljenovic’ shot was not falling but he did a good all-around job with 8rebs, 9asts and 5stls. Roma was lead by  Riccardo Ferrarese who scored 14pts.
  • Zalgiris Kaunas totally destroyed the hosts of Stella Azzurra and underlined their role as clear-cut favorite for the tournament. No one was able to stop the tremendous defense of the Lithuanians and they run one fast break after the other. The team efficiency result of 135 to 33 shows the dominance. It is difficult to pick someone out of the squad but Rolandas Jakstas scored 15pts and 8rebs in just 18 minutes of action. For the hosts, it was once again the Latvian sharp-shooter Ojars Silins that shined with 17pts at 5/8 three-pointers.
  • The surprise of the day was the win of Benetton Fribourg over Montepaschi Siena. The Swiss played a nearly perfect game for their level and even a difficult third quarter did not prevent them for getting their first win of the tournament. Fribourg was lead by an excellent Stefan Petkovic who did not only score 20pts but he nailed the clutch free-throws in the final seconds to seal the deal. The Swiss coaching staff had even some regrets after the game as they totally missed their opening game against Stella Azzurra so that they finished only 4th in their group despite having beat Siena. The Italians, who miss Tommasso Ingrosso with an injury were playing a really bad game and it was only Francesco Ramenghi with 8pts and 12rebs who was doing a good job.
  • Benetton Treviso did not continue where their namesakes started in the game before as they lost in a quite uninteresting game against Lottomatica Roma. Treviso finished however first and Roma last in their group. The game was so unimportant apparently for the Greens that their head coach decided to stop coaching during the game giving the voice to his assistant. He however re-started to take over the head-coach position in the final minutes when he felt that his team had a chance to win the game. Strange!
  • The last game of the day was probably one of the best as FMP, without Nenad Miljenovic who has a slight injury, overcame a CSKA team that fought like hell in order to win this one. But 28 to 17 fouls did not help the Russians to beat the Serbians that lost also their starting Center Nemanja Bezbradica due to a foot injury in the last quarter. The 1993 born power player had already 15pts and 8rebs at that moment but his team mates managed to secure the win even without him. Nikola Siladi had once again 19pts and 8rebs while Strahinja Mladenovic scored 12. The Russians were led by Alexander Tikhonin who had 15pts while Artem Komolov scored 13.
  • The final day on Tuesday will have the following match-ups. For the 7th place, Benetton Fribourg against Lottomatica Roma. Montepaschi Siena will face CSKA Moscow for the 5th place. Stella Azzurra will play against FMP for place number 3 while Zalgiris Kaunas meets Benetton Treviso in the Final of the tournament deciding who will reach the NIJT in Paris.
  • There was not that many NBA people present in Rome today. Among others, we saw Maurizio Gherardini (Toronto Raptors) and international scouts from the Atlanta Hawks and the Sacramento Kings.

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