Valencia beats ALBA, marches on to playoffs
Valencia Basket completed a perfect 7DAYS EuroCup Top 16 by downing ALBA Berlin 73-99 in Group G in the German capital on Wednesday. Valencia finished Group G with a 6-0 record and by having the best record overall in the Top 16 earned home-court advantage throughout the playoffs, starting with the best-of-three quarterfinals against Khimki Moscow Region. ALBA finished fourth in the group with a 1-5 record. Slava Kravtsov led six Valencia scorers in double digits with 18 points on 8-of-8 two-point shooting. Sam Van Rossom added 17 points, Bojan Dubljevic posted 16 points and 8 rebounds, Joan Sastre netted 11 points, while Rafa Martinez and Pierre Oriola each contributed 10 for Valencia. Eldemin Kikanovic and Carl English led ALBA with 18 points apiece. Valencia outrebounded ALBA 15-34, dished 26 points and hit 14 of 26 three-pointers (53.9%) to get a well-deserved road win.
A three-pointer by Malcolm Miller and a dunk by Kikanovic gave ALBA an early 5-4 lead. Van Rossom and Will Thomas tried to change things for Valencia, but back-to-back triples by Dragan Milosavljevic and a jumper by English boosted the hosts' margin to 16-10. A put-back basket by Kravtsov ignited a 0-9 Valencia run, which he capped with a layup-plus-foul. English kept pushing ALBA, but an unstoppable Kravtsov kept Valencia in charge, 21-23, after 10 minutes. A three-pointer by Engin Atsur restored a 26-23 ALBA lead early in the second quarter. Sastre struck twice from downtown in a 0-8 run that put Valencia in charge, 26-31. Dubljevic followed a triple with a layup, Oriola added a fast break basket and Guillem Vives hit from beyond the arc to make it a double-digit game, 30-41. Dubljevic nailed a jumper and Martinez added 4 of 5 free throws, but Kikanovic kept ALBA within 37-47 at halftime. Sastre and Van Rossom combined for 12 points in a 0-14 run, which Kravtsov capped with a layup to break the game open at 37-61, soon after the break. English and Miller tried to ignite an ALBA comeback, but the hosts only managed to trade baskets and three-pointers by Dubljevic and Martinez kept Valencia way ahead, 47-69, after 30 minutes. Nothing changed in the fourth quarter and Valencia kept a big margin until the final buzzer.
Wednesday, February 8, 2017