Pamesa Valencia ended its three-game losing streak and held onto at least a share of third place in Group C when it won 80-93 on the road against Alba in Berlin on Wednesday. Pamesa is now 6-4. One or more teams may tie it by the end of the week, but Pamesa took care of business against last-place Alba, now 2-8 and effectively eliminated from Top 16 contention with four regular season games left. Jose Antonio Paraiso made his first Euroleague start in six games and led Pamesa with 21 points, including 4 three-pointers without a miss. Fabricio Oberto added 19 points for the winners, Antoine Rigaudeau 16 and Dejan Tomasevic 11. Alba could not win despite one of the big individual scoring shows of the season, 34 points by Vladimir Petrovic, who made 5 of 6 three-pointers and 11 of 11 free throws and added 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. John Best contributed 16 more points for Alba and DeJuan Collins 11 plus 7 assists.
With tough defense right from the start on both ends of the court, shooting from outsideturned out as the best offensive option in the first minutes. Paraiso, with 2 three-pointers, gave Pamesa a 2-6 lead, then Best matched him from downtown for Alba to make it 5-6. Defenses continued to slow down the tempo, with only Oberto finding his way to easy layups for Pamesa. Alba answered with drives to the basket by Best and DeJuan Collins. After Rigaudeau and Petrovic traded triples and another Oberto layup kept Pamesa ahead 14-17, three steals leading to fastbreaks by Petrovic and Collins gave Alba its first lead, 21-17. But after a timeout, Rigaudeau hit back with a triple and 2 free throws as Pamesa reclaimed the advantage, 21-22, at the end of the 10 minutes.
Szymon Szewczyk, Collins and Chuck Evans opened the second quarter with baskets for a new Alba lead, 27-24, but then misses and turnovers by the Berliners in their next possession gave Pamesa a series of 10 easy and unanswered points, on fastbreaks and free throws, for a 27-34 lead. Alba desperately needed points and got them on Szewczyk's first three-pointer. Oberto answered with another layup, then Alba's defense started getting hot again. So did Petrovic on offense, scoring 7 consecutive points to put Alba back in business at 37-38. But the price for Alba's merciless defense was high: Stefano Garris went on the bench with his fourth foul and soon Pamesa found enough holes in Alba's defense to retake control with points from Rigaudeau and Paraiso.Three-pointers by Petrovic and Best only were good to limit the damage until halftime, when Pamesa led 44-50.
After the break Pamesa impressed again with great defense: A steal by Rigaudeau and a turnover by Petrovic helped the visitors to a double-digit lead, 44-54. Pamesa's defense went on making things very difficult for Alba, while Oberto seemed unstoppable under the basket. After he went ot with 3 fouls, Pamesa's offense slowed remarkably, but Alba was not able to score, either, for several minutes. Soon, 5 unanswered points brought Pamesa even further ahead, 51-65, before Petrovic answered with free-throws and a three-pointer for 56-65. But the last words of the third quarter belonged to Paraiso and Alejandro Montecchia, who gave Pamesa a comfortable 58-70 lead after 30 minutes.
A cool three-pointer by Montecchia, 2 free throws by Rigaudeau and the next in Oberto's series of layups sealed Pamesa's victory more or less at the beginning of the last quarter. The visitors' lead was out of touch at 58-77, while Szewczyk and Petrovic were saddled with fourth fouls for Alba. The hosts during the rest of the game fought hard to limit the loss, but Pamesa always found enough easy baskets or three-pointers to carry the 80-93 win home to Valencia. And most probably to leave Berlin fans waiting for another season to make the Top 16.
Wednesday, January 21, 2004
Horst Schneider, Berlin