Bizkaia Bilbao Basket conquered third place in the 2009-10 Eurocup
Bizkaia Bilbao Basket conquered third place in the 2009-10 Eurocup and registered its best result ever in European club competitions by downing Panellinios Opap BC 76-67 in the Third Place game in Vitoria, Spain on Sunday. Bilbao rounded a solid Eurocup season by finishing third. Despite its back-to-back losses in Vitoria, Panellinios was fourth overall in the 2009-10 Eurocup. Both teams started this Eurocup season in the Qualifying Rounds, which gives even more credit to their amazing run in the competition. Alex Mumbru led the winners with 16 points. Eurocup MVP Marko Banic added 15, Chris Warren had 12, Ronnie Seibutis got 10 while Axel Hervelle pulled down 10 rebounds for Bilbao. Ian Vougioukas had 17 points for Panellinios while Rod Blakney added 11. A fast break layup by Seibutis gave Bilbao ignited an 8-0 run that Marko Banic capped with a long jumper for a 22-15 Bilbao lead early in the second quarter. Josh Davis struck twice from downtown in a 0-11 run that put Panellinios back ahead, 22-26. Vougioukas and Blakney allowed Panellinios to stay ahead, 35-39, at halftime. Bilbao improved its defense after the break and found a go-to guy in Janis Blums to regain the lead, 53-51, late in the third quarter. Banic stepped up early in the fourth period, allowing Bilbao to stay ahead until the final buzzer.
Panellinios head coach Ilias Zouros opted to use Georgios Kalaitzis in his team's starting lineup to guard Warren, who got Bilbao going with free throws. Blakney sank a baseline jumper, but a second-chance lineup by Jerome Moiso gave Bilbao a 4-2 lead. Panellinios switched often from a 2-3 zone to man-to-man defense, but Warren stepped up with a three-pointer. Devin Smith and Blakney both hit from downtown to put their team back ahead, 7-8. Vougioukas scored in the paint, but Panellinios already had 4 team fouls and could not play defense with the same intensity. Banic stepped up with a layup and Mumbru downed a triple from corner for a 12-10 Bilbao lead. Panellinios tried to open the court with Davis at power forward and Kostas Charalampidis as its new scoring reference. Hervelle and Vougioukas traded free throws and Blums gave Bilbao a 15-11 lead. Vougioukas provided a highlight with a big dunk and soon added a layup to tie the score. Ronnie Seibutis shined with a fast break layup off a steal to give Bilbao a 17-15 edge after 10 minutes.
Damir Markota struck from downtown early in the second quarter and Banic added a long jumper to make Panellinios call timeout at 22-15, after a 7-0 run. Manolis Papamakarios joined the three-point shootout, as Panellinios tried to use Djuro Ostojic to guard Banic. Paco Vazquez managed to stop Charalampidis, but Davis downed a key triple to force Bilbao to call timeout at 22-21. Davis insisted from downtown and Vassilis Xanthopoulos scored off a steal to cap a 0-11 run, good for a 22-26 Panellinios lead. Warren tried to change things with free throws, but Xanthopoulos bettered him with a triple. Banic sank a running hook and Warren downed one from beyond the arc to tie it at 29-29. Blakney shined with a fade-away jumper that Vougioukas followed with a layup-plus-foul to put their team back ahead, 29-34. Papamakarios capped a 0-7 run with a six-meter jumper. Mumbru stepped up for Bilbao with an acrobatic layup. Hervelle made free throws that Alekos Petroulas matched with a power layup. A floating layup by Mumbru fixed the halftime score at 35-39.
Kalaitzis buried a three-pointer immediately after the break, as Panellinios started to use longer possessions. Blakney soon sank a mid-range jumper to make it a 9-point game. Mumbru tried to change things with free throws and a layup by Banic got Bilbao as close as 39-44. Panellinios struggled to find open shots and a layup-plus-foul by Banic caused Panellinios to call timeout. Bilbao was all over the place on defense and a fast break layup by Seibutis tied it at 44-44, after a 9-0 run. Papamakarios shined with a no-look assist in traffic, feeding Vougioukas for an easy dunk. Markos Kolokas sank free throws, but a driving layup by Blums kept Bilbao within 46-48. Charalampidis nailed his trademark triple from the corner only to see Warren beat Panellinios's zone defense with a mid-range jumper. Mumbru scored again, as Bilbao was now its usual self on defense. Blums downed a three-pointer that completed its team's comeback, 53-51. Ostojic and Mumbru traded free throws and a layup by Banic got all Bilbao fans involved at 56-52. Papamakarios banked in a jumper, but foul shots by Blums kept Bilbao ahead 58-54 after 30 minutes.
Vazquez beat the shot clock with a rainbow three-pointer early in the fourth quarter, as the game turned into a physical battle. Kalaitzis buriVazquez beat the shot clock with a rainbow three-pointer early in the fourth quarter as the game turned into a physical battle. Kalaitzis buried a baseline jumper, as Bilbao tried to slow down the game tempo with Blums and Vazquez at the guards, opening the court to feed Banic down low. Vougioukas hit free throws, but Warren fed Banic for an easy layup, good for a 63-58 Bilbao lead with over six minutes left. Chris Owens made foul shots, but he didn't find much help around. Mumbru scored in the paint at the other end. Panellinios tried its best scoring lineup with Blakney and Charalampidis together on court, but Bilbao kept dominating the game with strong defense. Moiso followed free throws with a two-handed dunk that gave Bilbao a 69-63 lead with three minutes to go. Panellinios was not done, however, as Vougioukas shined with a backdoor layup that made Bilbao call timeout at 69-65. Mumbru hit foul shots with 1:06 left. More free throws by Seibutis and Javi Salgado sealed the outcome, 73-65, as the Bilbao players and fans earned the ability to go back home with a consolation win.
Sunday, April 18, 2010