Thanks again to Antoine Rigaudeau, still-undefeated Pamesa Valencia made another tight game look easy with a great finish to an 87-72 Group C win over visiting Alba Berlin on Wednesday. The victory leaves Pamesa at 3-0 atop the group, while Alba remains winless at 0-3 and is alone in last place. Pamesa started with an early 6-0 run and the best Alba could do was tie the game at 37-37 shortly before halftime. It was still either team's game to win after three quarters, so Rigaudeau made it his and Pamesa's by scoring 13 points himself in the final quarter. Rigaudeau led all scorers with 25 points. Fabricio Oberto added 16 from the paint, Jose Antonio Paraiso 12, Alessandro Abbio and Dejan Tomasevic 10 each for the winners. For Alba, Vladimir Petrovic and DeJuan Collins led the way with 16 points each and Mithat Demirel added 10.
Pamesa needed only a minute to pull away 6-0, but Alba reacted soon and made it 6-5. Alessandro Abbio and Marko Pesic fought their own battle from the arc as both had nailed a pair of triples, the first without miss and the second with one miss, for 14-11. A dunk by Federico Kammerichs sparked a 6-0 run for the hosts until the scoreboard read 20-11. Pamesa dominated the inside game, moving the ball with ease to Dejan Tomasevic and Fabricio Oberto. Alba tried to do what it could, and big Szymon Szewczyk put the ball in for 24-18, the same margin as after Mithat Demirel added a jumper to make it 26-20. Oberto marked the end of the first quarter for Pamesa, however, and the hosts had their biggest lead at 28-20 after 10 minutes.
The Pamesa defense was strong, but Alba fought hard to come back. Jovo Stanojevic became the offensive protagonist for the guests at the same time as Vladimir Petrovic stepped on court to drive and dunk from the side for 35-28. The lead of the Spaniards started to decrease despite their 75% accuracy in shooting to that point (15 of 20). But 5 triples landed by the Germans, including one now by DeJuan Collins, pulled Alba within only 2 points, 35-33. Pamesa coach Paco Olmos called a timeout to try to calm things down, and Antoine Rigaudeau came on court to provide experience. Just the same, Pesic's three-point play tied the game for the first time, 37-37. Turnovers kept coming for Pamesa while it seemed that Alba found its way now to the rival basket and Demirel added some open shots from the field. The turning point near the break came as Jose Antonio Paraiso stepped on court to score 4 straight points for Pamesa, leaving the hosts ahead 43-37 at halftime.
The second half still saw Alba rallying as 4 consecutive points from Collins on drives pulled the Berliners within 45-43. But then Rigaudeau started to take control. He also scored 4 straight points, and at the same time, Paraiso continued with his flawless shooting. With the good defensive plan by Olmos, Pamesa had the edge at both ends of the floor. From that point, Petrovic became the main offensive pillar for Alba until the end of the game, as his triple made it 55-51. The Germans tried to erase the deficit from the arc, but with a final tally of 6 of 25 three-pointers, it wasn't happening there, either. Paraiso still had the magic touch and added 4 more points without miss for 62-53 Pamesa lead with less than 1 minute to go in the third quarter. A last layup by Demirel for Alba left things at 62-55 after 30 minutes, the guests still holding some options before the decisive period.
Those options disappeared quickly, however, as the fourth quarter again belonged to Rigaudeau. The veteran French guard would score 13 points in the last quarter to put his team in a safe place. Alba Berlin raised its hands and lost aggressiveness, while Pamesa played at ease, both in offense and defense, pushing the advantage to 71-57. The Germans kept trying to solve it from the arc, but the shots wouldn't go in. Meanwhile, Rigaudeau drove the Alba defense crazy with his assists, layups, shots and drives. He also forced an unsportsmanlike foul on Nino Garris, scored one of the free throws and later added a driving layup. Rigaudeau left the court with the job done, his team ahead 83-66 with less than 2 minutes left.
Wednesday, November 19, 2003