Cajasol Seville is the champion of the 12th annual Torneo Citta di Roma. Led by the tournament MVP Maxim Salash, Cajasol overcame a double-digit deficit, downing the hosting team Stellazzurra Basketball Academy Rome 53-67 at Arena Altero Felici in the Italian capital on Sunday. Cajasol also became the first team to earn a ticket to the final round of the Nike International Junior Tournament, which will be played in Milan from May 15 to 18, 2014, coinciding with the 2014 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four. It is Cajasol’s second NIJT trophy, after winning the title at the L'Hospitalet tournament in January of 2010. The hosts built an early double-digit lead, and had 28-18 in the second quarter, but Cajasol rallied before halftime, before pulling away to a big lead in the third quarter to finish the tournament with 3-1 record. Center Salash led in victory with 20 points plus 10 rebounds, while Carlos Hidalgo had 10 points, 5 steals and 3 assists. Tomeout Rigo scored 9, and Adrian Martinez had 8 points plus 7 rebounds in victory. For Stellazzura, Federico Mussini had 14 points and 5 steals, while Andrea La Torre collected 12 points plus 8 rebounds, as both players were voted on the All Tournament team.
Stellazzura had a great start to the game, La Torre and Kristinn Palsson hit three-pointers, and Curtis Nwohuocha had a dunk for 8-0. After Hidalgo got Cajasol going from long range, more triples from La Torre and Mussini made it 14-3. It was a festival of triples in the first quarter, as Rigo, Salash and Diego Gallardo each sank one for Cajasol, but Palsson nailed his second for the hosts which had 22-12 after 10 minutes. Stellazzura remained in control until the midway point of the second quarter, and La Torre’s jump shot for 28-18. However, a layup by Malik Eichler sparked a 2-15 run from Cajasol, capped with a three from Hidalgo and a buzzer-beating put-back from Salash for 30-33 halftime lead. After the break, Palsson scored twice for the hosts, but Karl Robin Jurjens and Rigo each hit a triple on the other end, helping Cajasol to a double-digit lead. With perfect 6 of 6 from the free throw line, Cajasol held 38-53 at the end of the third quarter. Todor Radonjic and Ndiaye El Hadji cut into the lead at the start of the fourth, but Salash made a basket-plus foul before Martinez had a put-back, than a steal, followed with a layup for 48-62. Mussini kept Stellazzura’s hopes alive with a jumper and a triple, but MVP Salash scored another bucket, then rejected Mussini’s attempt on the other end, sealing the deal.
Sunday, December 29, 2013