On This Day, 2019: Valencia, ALBA sweep their way to finals

Mar 22, 2020 by Eurocupbasketball.com Print
On This Day, 2019: Valencia, ALBA sweep their way to finals

One year ago on this date, both Valencia Basket and ALBA Berlin completed sweeps of their respective semifinal series en route to a final that would eventually see the Spanish team emerge as the 7DAYS EuroCup champion for 2018-19. Both teams had dominated during the season and Valencia had swept Rytas Vilnius 2-0 in the quarterfinals to reach the semis against UNICS Kazan. On the other side of the bracket, ALBA won its quarterfinals series 2-1 against Unicaja Malaga and faced MoraBanc Andorra in the round before the final.

Valencia succeeds in Kazan

Valencia arrived in the Russian city to face UNICS riding a 13-game winning streak. With one more win, the Spanish team would reach its record sixth appearance in the EuroCup finals. Matt Thomas and Sam Van Rossom would lead the way for Valencia en route to a 73-79 road win. It was also the first - and only - team that beat UNICS on its turf during the 2018-19 season. Valencia started strong, but the hosts managed to get within 36-39 at the break. However, Van Rossom led a 1-13 run for Valencia that would see the orange team get its 14th straight win and roll into the finals.

ALBA gets back on top

It was a Spanish League-flavored elimination rounds for ALBA. First it eliminated Unicaja and now it traveled not to Spain, but Andorra to try to eliminate another team from the same league to return to the EuroCup Finals for the first time since 2010. ALBA won 81-87 to sweep the series led by Peyton Siva and his 21 points. ALBA was in control 42-51 at the break, but a 12-0 run allowed the hosts to step ahead 54-53. However, in a game of runs, Siva and Luke Sikma sparked another 0-10 surge that would put the visitors' lead out of reach and sent ALBA to its second EuroCup finals appearance ever.

A re-match of the 2010 final

As fate would have it, ALBA would play its second EuroCup Finals against the same opponent as the first, Valencia. The previous time they faced each other was in 2010 at the EuroCup Finals in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. Valencia won 44-67 in the championship game; Kosta Perovic had 17 points and Thomas Kelati 13 for the champs.

What would happen next

In the final series between ALBA and Valencia, each team managed to put home-court advantage to good use, and since the Spanish team was able to host Game 3 at La Fonteta, it managed to win the series 2-1 to lift its fourth EuroCup crown. Valencia won Game 3 89-63, the biggest margin of victory ever in a EuroCup championship game. Both teams earned a spot in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague 2019-20 season.