One player was especially excited about Valencia Basket finally returning to the 7DAYS EuroCup court after the long national team break. Mike Tobey could not wait to finally make his EuroCup season debut, and he wasted no time in making a huge impact.
Tobey scored 10 of Valencia’s first 15 points en route to a comfortable 67-81 victory at Umana Reyer Venice. The 27-year-old center finished the game with 16 points and 8 rebounds.
"Besides the win, also big for us was the return of Mike Tobey. Mike is an important player for us," Valencia coach Joan Penarroya said after the game. "Today we saw him on the break, in the block, with the three-pointers. And the energy he brought us was very important too."
Tobey talked more about the team win, saying: "We just played together. We did a good job in the second half. At halftime, we talked about being a little more patient. They adjusted their defense but we did a good job."
Tobey played a major role in Slovenia reaching the semifinals of the Olympic Games in Tokyo this past summer. And then he missed the first five EuroCup games of the season - playing one Spanish League game in late September. He suffered from osteitis pubis, a condition that causes inflammation around the center of the pelvis.
Tobey showed right from the beginning that he was fine in Venice, putting back an offensive rebound for Valencia’s first score. He laid in a Martin Hermannsson pass and added a three-pointer. A second three-pointer gave him 10 points as Valencia jumped out to an early 2-15 lead.
Tobey was less dominant on offense in the second quarter, instead grabbing 4 defense rebounds.
The New York native threw down a dunk on the first possession of the second half. He added two put-back scores and then converted a fastbreak layup for a 36-50 cushion. Tobey would fall into foul trouble and that more or less meant the end of his meaningful contribution. But he had already done his damage for Valencia - a team that is thankful to have Tobey back in the mix.
Just as much as Tobey is happy about being back in the mix.