- Christian Kattner
Ato Garca Reneses smiled bravely as he turned his round on the floor, shaking hands, thanking the referees for the third round of the Eurocup against Valencia BC. It was a professional smile of the coach of Alba Berlin, because the 89: 63 defeat had the 1: 2 in the series Best of three, thus the failure in the second continental championship result.
But what was meant by failure here? The Berlin basketball players had at least come so far, had forced the playoffs. Valencia coach Jaume Ponsarnau expressed his respect for his opponent, and especially for his colleague, the 72-year-old Spaniard in Alba’s service. The fans of the hosts in the basketball arena of Valencia chanted: “Alba, Alba, Alba!”
Giffey with the consolation prize
Alba’s captain Niels Giffey accepted the consolation prize for the second-placed club, a silver engraved tray, and he, too, with a brave smile. However, it had become clear to him and his team that it would happen this Monday night.
Just two minutes before the end of the third quarter, it had become loud. Really loud. The almost 8,000 fans of Valencia Basket rose from their seats and paid homage to their team. The was already comfortable at this time 62:41 in the lead. It seemed inevitable that the trophy, which had been in the middle circle of the hall between the two teams at the beginning of the match, would stay here.
This clarity was not to be expected. Even before the game, Alba’s professionals seemed highly focused. Last, the rest of the team had already disappeared back in the cabin, Luke Sikma was still on the floor. Liked with left, laydown with right – together with individual trainer Carlos Frades, Sikma took 45 minutes before the start of the game at the old site once again last litters. While the winger seemed to be looking for his inner peace, the Alba fans traveled together just before entrance number three of the final in Valencia sang warmly, and shortly thereafter to take their assigned block 218.
They saw a run of their team; the 11-0 was something like the perfect start for the Berliners. Good defense with two blocks of Dennis Clifford and good rebounding behavior were the basis for fast break deals. The Berlin fans acknowledged this with defense calls.
On the offensive, a successful three by Peyton Siva rounded off the perfect start. With that, parts of the Spanish fans had still burst their inflatable gossip instruments, should their title dream burst here?
After 3:49 minutes, they were redeemed by the first basketball success of their team in this third final. For Valencia, it was something like the late start of the game. Gradually they found solutions against the Alba defense and also met their distance throw. This is exactly what the Spaniards celebrate especially. For each triple, the words 3Pointer and Triple flashed on the video cube, and the player who turned the roll made a funny move.
Matt Thomas as a gunfighter
Especially the gunman Matt Thomas did not want to see so often those who did it this evening with Alba Berlin. As in game one at the same venue, the American ran really hot. Four of his five-trip attempts, he turned one at halftime. The Berlin leadership had shrunk to 17:18 until the first quarter break, Matt Thomas brought Valencia with a threesome to 20:18 shortly after the start of the second quarter for the first time in the lead.
Alba equalized again to 20:20, but was in the 15th minute with 20:30 behind. Marco Baldi had hoped after the victory in the second game of the series that his team comes in the heads of the Spaniards. It should, however, run around.
Siva finds the groove
With the majority of fans in the sold-out Pabellon Fuente de San Luis, Valencia had found the right groove. For the Berliners this was only achieved by Peyton Siva (13 points) and Rokas Giedraitis (10) in the first half. The top performers Niels Giffey, Luke Sikma and Center Landry Nnoko, however, remained without a point.
The 33-46 deficit to the half-time break was clear and could not be reduced even after the break. Valencia Basket had the Berlin still fully under control. That did not apply to the nerves of one or the other Alba player. Luke Sikma was also without a point in the second half. His failure and the performance of Niels Giffey (two points) could not be compensated for this evening, in this third final. With drooping heads the Berlin trudged in the end in her cabin. Outside on the floor the fans celebrated. They celebrated their team.