The duel between the only two unbeaten teams of Group B fell to Pamesa Valencia, who beat FMP Zeleznik by 85-61 on Tuesday thanks to a spectacular fourth period. The Spanish hosts finished the game with 21-2 run that neutralized all the options that Zeleznik, who could score only manage 2 points in 8 minutes, had built earlier in the game. With the win, the Spaniards remain undefeated atop Group B at 3-0, while Zeleznik suffers the first loss of the season anywhere and falls to 2-1. Federico Kammerichs was the best man for the winners with 17 points, including 5 of 6 two-pointers. Alessandro Abbio added 16 points and Bernard Hopkins a double-double of 15 points and 10 boards. Fabricio Oberto was also important in the paint with 14 more points. For the losers, Ivan Zoroski led the way with 16 points and Goran Nikolic added 15.
Zeleznik opened the game stomping on court and overwhelming the hosts in the offensive end, and after only 1 minute, Nikolic slammed for his fifth point and a 2-5, which became a 4-11 after anothe minute. The situation couldn't last for long, and Valencia started its reaction soon. A three by Nacho Rodilla followed by 4 consecutive points by Fabricio Oberto, tied the game at 11-11 in the blink of an eye. This chaotic start was the prelude to a much more balanced and organized end of the period, with both teams taking turns in the lead, even though another three by Plisnic inminute 8 forged a 4-point lead for the guests again, 18-22. Both teams insisted on nailing threes for 25-25 in the last minute. At the end of the period, the guests led by 2, 26-28. The second quarter started balanced again until Zeleznik hit a 0-7 run for 35-42 in minute 14. There seemed to be a mirror oncourt, since the events were much like as in the first quarter, with Abbio answering with a three and Pamesa coming back at 40-42. The game became slower due to tight defense and turnovers, until Hopkins nailed the layup for 42-44 in minute 17. Paraiso and Nikolic hit their two attempted free throws for each team in the last plays of the second for a 47-48 score at the break.
After resumption, defenses grew tougher and that kept scoring at low levels. The hosts were clearly winning the battle under the boards thanks to both Dejan Tomasevic and Hopkins. It was the latter who was also the main offensive reference for the hosts, while the youngsters of Zeleznik had in Zoroski their main hope. Hopkins hit the layup for 59-53 in minute 28, and neither team took real control of the tempo of the game. After 30 minutes, Valencia was ahead 62-53 after yet another basket by Tomasevic from down below. Zeleznik seemed to be shocked at the start of the decisive period, as it witnessed how Pamesa rallied for a quick 6-0 run that forced a timeout for the guests. With Zoroski on the bench due to foul trouble, all the offensive responsibilities fell on Nikolic, but Kammerichs was simply unstoppable in the paint, slamming for 72-55. Rodilla contributed to the situation stealing balls in defense for the fast transitions, while Abbio made sure that the situation was under control from the 6.25 line (3 of 5) for the hosts, who were already forging a 21-2 run since the last minutes of the third quarter, to break the game open, 80-55 in minute 38.
Tuesday, October 29, 2002