Wednesday's Game 3 showdown in the 7DAYS EuroCup Semifinals between Virtus Segafredo Bologna and UNICS Kazan has an added bonus for the winner. Not only with the victor advance to play AS Monaco in the final, but it will also gain eligibility to compete in the 2021-22 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague.
Under new rules put in place but never activated before the last, pandemic-shortened season, both EuroCup finalists would become eligible to join the EuroLeague the following season only if the previous EuroCup team there did not reach the EuroLeague Playoffs.
Zenit St Petersburg's resounding victory in the EuroLeague on Monday was good for that competition's last playoffs spot, denying Valencia Basket the same distinction. Since Valencia was the last 7DAYS EuroCup champion, that means that both finalists in the EuroCup this season gain eligibility to compete in Europe's premier league next season.
Monaco ensured that it would be eligible to make its EuroLeague debut when it completed a two-game sweep of Herbalife Gran Canaria in the other EuroCup Semifinals series. Game 3 between Virtus and UNICS will decide which team joins Monaco among the continental elite next season.
A victory for Virtus would see it through to the EuroLeague for the first time since the 2007-08 season. Virtus was among the true giants of the competition at the turn of the century. It was the EuroLeague champion in both 1998 and 2001 and reached the Final Four on its home court in 2002.
UNICS seeks a fourth EuroLeague campaign after playing in Europe's league in 2011-12, 2014-15 and 2016-17. Its best season was the first of those three in which it reached the playoffs before falling to FC Barcelona in three games.