A Euroleague newcomer made its own history on Wednesday when Pamesa Valencia mathematically made it to the Top 16 by beating Adecco Asvel 80-64 at home in Valencia, Spain. Pamesa had no trouble exacting revenge for a 20-points loss its suffered in Villeurbanne in December, and in so doing improved to 8-4 in Group C. Its current tie-break advantages are enough to assure Pamesa at least the fifth place in the final standings. Meanwhile, Asvel falls to 2-10 and will have to battle hard to avoid the last place. Dimos Dikoudis and Dejan Tomsevic led the winners with 14 points apiece. Alejandro Montecchia had 13 points on 3 of 3 three-pointers and 4 assists in just 18 minutes, while Fabricio Oberto added 10 points for Pamesa. Robert Gulyas led all scorers with 17 points on 8 of 10 two-pointers for Asvel, while Karim Souchu added 10 for the guests.
After Gulyas opened the scoring with a left-handed layup, things went badly for Asvel. Montecchia punished the guests' zone defense with 2 three-pointers in an early 12-4 Pamesa run during which Tomasevic and Oberto also scored near the basket. Asvel only managed to score 3 points in the final 5 minutes of the quarter, as Pamesa was playing with a different intensity. Montecchia drilled another three, Tomasevic added 4 and Paraiso 7, including a three-pointer from the top of the arc at the buzzer, and Pamesa had full control at 26-9 after 10 minutes.
Nothing changed early in the second, as a basket by Oberto extended the lead to 20 at 29-9. Asvel was loyal to its zone defense, and it paid off mildly, with a 1-6 run highlighted by a three-pointer by Sacha Giffa. Pamesa fired back with a 8-1 run, however, in which Oberto had 4 points, to extend the local lead to 38-15 . Asvel went on a final 4-9 run as Souchu scored 6 points, but reached the locker rooms still trailing by 18, 42-24. Asvel's offensive numbers spoke by themselves: 6 of 14 two-pointers and 1 of 8 three-pointers after 20 minutes.
Pamesa looked for Tomasevic in the middle early in the third quarter, and he scored 8 points in 4 minutes to extend the lead to 54-32. Even when Asvel was scoring consistently, the guests only managed to exchange baskes with Pamesa. Asvel lost control soon after that, committing too many turnovers, while Pamesa went on a 12-4 run in which Dikoudis had 5 points and Marko Popovic drilled a huge triple as the shot clock expired. It was enough to give Pamesa a 66-43 lead after 30 minutes.
The outcome was already clear entering the fourth quarter, but some intresting things happened. Asvel opened with a 2-9 run in which Gulyas had 4 points and Andre Owens added an acrobatic layup. Pamesa called timeout and a three-pointer by Dikoudis and a layup in penetration by Asier Garcia woke the hosts up to stop any emerging rally. From there, both teams exchanged baskets until the buzzer, and Asvel even managed to cut the final deficit to 80-64. Meanwhile, the local fans celebrated their team's success, as Pamesa reached the Top 16 in its first-ever Euroleague appearance.
Wednesday, February 4, 2004