Alba Berlin’s fighting spirit awakens too late
A weak first half cost Alba Berlin their second victory in the basketball Euroleague. Vitoria won 80:76 in Berlin.
Berlin. Before the game there were lots of hugs in the Mercedes-Benz Arena, because it’s a pleasure to meet again. Simone Fontecchio, Jayson Granger, Rokas Giedraitis and Landry Nnoko were warmly welcomed by some of their former teammates and also greeted warmly by the audience. Now they are in the service of Baskonia Vitoria. And they hadn’t brought any presents for Alba Berlin. On the contrary: They played a major role in the fact that the club from the Basque Country won the basketball Euroleague 80:76 (52:29).
The hosts were so expectant two days after the 84:70 against Fenerbahce Istanbul. But the 3145 fans in the arena were disappointed for a long time. Alba again had a knot on the offensive in the second quarter, miserable throwing rates from all distances. Even on the free-throw line, the Berliners left many chances, a total of eight times. Vitoria knew how to use that.
Two ex-Berliners hit Alba particularly hard
Above all Fontecchio and Granger. The Italian (17 points) had a sure hand with his three-point throws, especially in the first half, the playmaker from Uruguay (15) scored against his ex-team at very important moments after the break.
Alba was still missing the center Ben Lammers, Johannes Thiemann and Christ Koumadje as well as the sniper Marcus Eriksson. But that was not the reason for the decisive 14:31 in the second quarter. Rather, bad throwing decisions and an inattentive defense. When the guests had their highest advantage in the 21st minute at 56:29, boredom threatened.
Captain Sikma is again a role model for Alba Berlin
But the Berliners can fight. Led by again exemplary captain Luke Sikma (19 points, eight rebounds, four assists) the whole team increased. Oscar da Silva (15 points / six rebounds) came closest to him in the statistics. But the Israelis Yovel Zoosman and Tamir Blatt with their threesomes also contributed to the growing tension.
Alba won the third quarter 18:10, the last even 29:18. “Our defense was much more aggressive,” said Sikma, “in the first half we allowed way too many easy points.” The gap in Berlin shrank steadily, but twice, when things threatened to get really tight, Granger scored for Baskonia with his three-pointers right into the heart of Alba. So Fontecchio was able to comment with satisfaction: “That was fun today.” Definitely for him.
Read more about Alba Berlin here.