2016-17FinalsGame 1
March 28, 2017 CET: 20:30
Local time: 20:30 LA FONTETA

Valencia takes 1-0 lead on Unicaja in finals

In an intense showdown, Valencia Basket took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three 7DAYS EuroCup Finals with a 68-62 victory over Unicaja Malaga on Tuesday at Fuente De San Luis. Unicaja hosts Game 2 on Friday, March 31 at 21:00 CET. If Game 3 is needed, it will be played in Valencia on Wednesday, April 5. The 7DAYS EuroCup winner earns the right to play in the 2017-18 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague. Valencia trailed by double figures early, but came back to tie the game by the end of the first quarter. The hosts led by 2 heading into the fourth quarter, but took over down the stretch to claim the victory. Bojan Dubljevic paced the winner with 14 points and 8 rebounds and also finished the game as the EuroCup’s all-time leading scorer, a distinction teammate Rafa Martinez briefly held during the game, too. Joan Sastra added 13 points for Valencia, which recorded its 22nd consecutive home win in all competitions - nine of them in the EuroCup. Jeff Brooks paced Unicaja with 11 points and Alen Omic posted 8 points and 12 rebounds in defeat.

A three-pointer by Adam Waczynski and a layup by Omic gave Unicaja an early 3-5 lead. Nemanja Nedovic followed a triple with a fast break layup, but Sam Van Rossom and Romain Sato kept Valencia within 7-10. Brooks joined the three-point shootout and followed Omic's layup with a jumper that made it a double-digit game, 7-17. Sastre stepped up with back-to-back triples in an 8-0 Valencia run. He got help from Bojan Dubljevic and Will Thomas to tie it at 20-20 after 10 minutes. Smith took over with a driving layup and Carlos Suarez hit a corner three-pointer in a 0-8 run that Dani Diez capped with an off-balance basket. Martinez hit a jumper to become the EuroCup's all-time scoring champ and Fernando San Emeterio added a put-back basket, but Omic and Diez kept Unicaja way ahead, 24-32. Kyle Fogg struck from downtown, however Luke Sikma took over with a second-chance layup, Sastre followed a triple with a layup and a buzzer-beating tip-in by Dubljevic tied the game, 35-35, at halftime.

Brooks followed an alley-oop layup with a one-handed put-back slam for a 35-39 Unicaja lead right after the break. San Emeterio stepped up with a backdoor layup and Guillem Vives struck from downtown, but Oliver Lafayette and Jamar Smith kept the guests in charge, 42-44. Will Thomas swished a turnaround jumper and a three-pointer by Sato gave Valencia its first lead since the opening minute, 47-46. Thomas kept pushing Valencia with a triple, but a wild turnaround jumper by Suarez kept Unicaja within 50-48 after 30 minutes. Viny Okouo followed a dunk with a layup, but a floater by Sastre and a three-pointer by Van Rossom kept Valencia in charge, 55-52, with seven minutes left. Pierre Oriola followed a three-point play with a layup, which caused Unicaja to call timeout at 60-52. Unicaja kept struggling to score until Diez rescued the visitors with a triple. Sato beat the shot-clock buzzer with a jumper and Dubljevic nailed a three-pointer, but Omic and Fogg gave Unicaja hope at 65-60 in the next-to-last minute. Brooks nailed a jumper to bring the visitors within a shot, but a Dublejvic triple with 31.5 seconds remaining restored a 6-point cushion that all but sealed the victory.

Sam Van Rossom - Valencia Basket - EC Finals 2017 - EC16
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Attendance: 7583
By Quarter1234
Valencia Basket20151518
Unicaja Malaga20151314
End of Quarter1234
Valencia Basket20355068
Unicaja Malaga20354862
Valencia Basket
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
0 THOMAS, WILL 23:27 8 2/2 1/4 1/2 1 5 6     1     2 2 9
9 VAN ROSSOM, SAM 22:03 5 1/3 1/4     3 3 6 1 1       4 13
10 SATO, ROMAIN 18:45 7 2/5 1/2   2   2           1   4
14 DUBLJEVIC, BOJAN 27:33 14 4/6 2/3   2 6 8 1 1 1       3 23
16 VIVES, GUILLEM 18:04 3 0/1 1/3         1   1     4 2 -2
17 MARTINEZ, RAFA 15:06 4 2/2 0/1         1   1     1   2
18 ORIOLA, PIERRE 12:20 5 2/3   1/1 2 1 3         1 2   4
19 SAN EMETERIO, FERNANDO 21:15 4 2/5     3 1 4 3   3     1   4
30 SASTRE, JOAN 24:54 13 2/6 3/6   1 1 2 3           1 12
42 FERRANDO, LUIS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
43 SIKMA, LUKE 16:33 5 1/5 0/1 3/4 2 3 5 2         2 2 6
52 SAVIC, EMIL DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Team           1 3 4               4
Totals 200:00 68 18/38 9/24 5/7 14 23 37 17 2 8 0 1 13 14 79
        47.4% 37.5% 71.4%
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
Unicaja Malaga
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
2 OKOUO, VINY 10:12 5 2/3   1/2 2 2 4       1   1 1 8
8 FOGG, KYLE 20:32 8 1/4 2/7         2 1       4 2 1
9 DIAZ, ALBERTO 9:47 3   1/1         2         2   3
11 DIEZ, DANIEL 23:02 7 2/2 1/2   2 1 3 1           1 11
15 SMITH, JAMAR 24:54 3 0/4 1/5     4 4 4 1 1     2 2 3
16 NEDOVIC, NEMANJA 17:00 5 1/2 1/4     1 1 2 1 2       1 4
20 LAFAYETTE, OLIVER 9:41 4 2/2           2           1 7
21 WACZYNSKI, ADAM 15:11 3 0/3 1/3     1 1     1       1 -1
23 BROOKS, JEFF 23:05 11 4/8 1/1   2 2 4 2 2 1     2 1 13
43 SUAREZ, CARLOS 18:27 5 1/2 1/4   2   2 1 1 1     2 2 4
92 OMIC, ALEN 28:09 8 4/6     4 8 12           1 1 18
Team           1 2 3     2         1
Totals 200:00 62 17/36 9/27 1/2 13 21 34 16 6 8 1 0 14 13 72
        47.2% 33.3% 50%
Head coach: PLAZA, JOAN

Head Coaches

Valencia Basket
"It was a tough game - it couldn't be any other way in a European final. We had some tough moments during the game and Unicaja played an excellent game, dominating it in some moments. Our players showed a lot of character, and that helped us hold on to the game in the first half, and then get the lead in the second half. Our opponent did not allow us to play an excellent game, but I am very happy to be able to win such a difficult game. We now have to prepare for Game 2. We know what this is all about and expect Game 2 to be much more difficult. We have to recover physically, because we are almost at our physical limit, and see if we can win the next one. San Van Rossom had physical problems in the first half - stomach problems, he threw up at halftime, but we are a team and things like this happen. It is not the ideal situation, but Guillem [Vives] played an excellent game and fortunately, Sam was able to recover. I think Game 3 is very likely because Unicaja is a tough team. I don't know if Unicaja deserves it or not; this is why we play the games, but it wouldn't be a surprise. Unicaja is a great team and will have a lot of energy from its fans on Friday, just like we had it today. Them winning Game 2 is the logical result, but that doesn't mean it will happen for sure. It is a possibility. We have to do our job and believe in our chances."
Unicaja Malaga
"Congratulations to Valencia. I believed it was a hard-fought game, in which when it goes down to a close finish, both teams could have deserved to win. Not even people in Valencia could doubt we could have won the game. We had a great attitude and gave a good effort. Sometimes we didn't measure that effort; we made some mistakes rushing things a bit, but no-one gave up and looked down. We tried to help each other, play as a team and would like to think that what Unicaja is doing deserves that the series goes to Game 3. Then we may go to Game 3 and lose by 30 or 40 points, I don't know, but we will all agree that Unicaja deserves to play Game 3, in front of a sellout crowd at La Fonteta and maximum pressure. We are making a huge effort; we tied two quarters tonight, lost one by 2 points and another one by 4, and that costs us the game, it was enough. We deserve to bring the series back to this place and have a great night in Malaga. We will need to make less mistakes in Malaga, but I hope we can be back here and fight for our chances in the fourth quarter, or sooner. Forcing Game 3 would be sports justice. In a final, emotions run fast. We have a series of players who have been in finals, but don't have the experience of some Valencia players who have been to many finals and won some of them. You don't buy it in a shop; you acquire it in finals like this. We didn't make big mistakes, but we were anxious when they took the lead. The team recovered and got closer, but also lost a 10-point lead in a couple of minutes. We have to improve that and try not to let them return to the game."


Valencia Basket
"Our fans are pretty excited and helped us a lot tonight. They helped us a lot as well in the quarterfinals and the semifinals, putting a lot of pressure on the other team. They helped us a lot and gave us a lot of energy. It is very nice to play in this kind of atmosphere. I think it was a pretty defensive game by both sides. Unicaja only allowed us to score 68 points, which is a low number for us. If you don't score on offense, you have to get stops on defense and I think we were pretty solid."
Valencia Basket
"We knew they were going to come out and play hard. They had a good first half and after playing against us so many times, they are going to come out and give their best shot in every game. I think the difference in the second half was that we played better defense. They beat us on the glass, but we did our best to stop them, because when we get stops, we play better. That is why we changed the game in the fourth quarter. I expect another battle in Malaga; this is a final! It will be a battle from the very beginning, like this again."
Valencia Basket
"We did a good job on defense, especially in the second half. We made some adjustments at halftime and that allowed us to get a very important first win in the series. The game was a battle and I expect more of the same in Game 2 - or even worse. Unicaja is really strong at home and it can still be a long series. We have guaranteed a potential Game 3 at home, but still need one more win. Our fans were perfect tonight. They have been great all EuroCup long and of course, they were even better tonight."
Valencia Basket
"The first game is the most important to win. We were the team that played better defense. I think we played really good defense. Now we have to be ready for one more game, and I hope we win it in Malaga. It's a big pleasure to be the EuroCup's first scorer all-time, but I don't think about the record. I just hope that we're going to win this EuroCup."
Unicaja Malaga
"The game went down to a big shot by Dubljevic. I think we played well; we had a lot of energy and were confident tonight and just a couple of balls didn't go our way, some easy shots around the rim didn't drop in the clutch moments of the game. Sometimes it is the difference between winning and losing; a couple of shots missed around the rim and a clutch three by Dubljevic in a game that you lose by 6 points. That made the difference tonight and hopefully we will keep our heads up, stay positive and bounce back on Friday. I think the energy in our arena is going to be double this one. Our fans are starving for us to beat Valencia. They will help us and give us the energy to win on Friday. It is going to be exciting."
Unicaja Malaga
"They are a good team. We didn’t expect it to be easy. I think our guys played hard and we played together and have an important game on Friday. They got home-court advantage for a reason and they get to come and play in front of their crowd, so we’re excited to get back to our home. Every basketball player dreams to be in the finals. We’re just glad to be here, but we know we want to go all the way with this. "
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