Valencia routs ALBA for record fourth EuroCup crown
Valencia Basket is the 2018-19 7DAYS EuroCup champion! Valencia Basket made the most out its home-court advantage by downing ALBA Berlin 89-63 in front of a sellout crowd at Pabellon Fuente de San Luis in Game 3 of the 7DAYS EuroCup Finals on Monday. Valencia won its fourth EuroCup title, twice as many as any other team in competition history, and earned the right to play in the 2019-20 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague. The Spanish powerhouse had previously won the competition in 2003, 2010 and 2014. Matt Thomas knocked down 5 three-pointers en route to 19 points to pace the winners. Bojan Dubljevic posted 18 points and 8 rebounds, Fernando San Emeterio also scored 18 and Will Thomas netted 15 for the victors. Rokas Giedraitis led ALBA with 19 points and Peyton Siva netted 14 in defeat. Siva and Giedraitis fueled an 0-11 opening run, but Dubljevic and Matt Thomas came off the bench and cut ALBA's lead to 17-18 after 10 minutes. A 10-0 run that Will Thomas capped with a step-back three-pointer gave Valencia its first double-digit lead, 30-20. Will Thomas and Dubljevic pushed the hosts to a 46-33 halftime advantage. San Emeterio took over after the break, getting help from Will Thomas to boost Valencia's margin to 63-44 after 30 minutes. ALBA kept trying, but the Valencia fans had plenty of time to celebrate a truly historic night.
Martin Hermannsson got ALBA going with a mid-range jumper and Giedraitis hit a jump hook in an 0-11 run that Siva capped with a bomb from downtown. Valencia was held scoreless for almost 4 minutes until Fernando San Emeterio scored in penetration. Dubljevic added a put-back jump hook that Giedraitis bettered with a triple for a 4-14 ALBA margin. Matt Thomas nailed a corner three-pointer and got help from San Emeterio and Antoine Diot to bring the hosts even closer, 10-14. Dubljevic scored in the low post and Matt Thomas added a driving layup, but Siva and Tim Schneider kept ALBA ahead, 14-18. Thomas hit another one from beyond the arc to bring Valencia within 17-18 after 10 minutes. A three-pointer by Dubljevic gave Valencia its first lead, 20-18, early in the second quarter. Johannes Thiemann banked in a six-meter shot, but Matt Thomas and Will Thomas each struck from beyond the arc in a 10-0 run highlighted by a Dubljevic dunk for a 30-20 lead. Siva buried one from beyond the arc, but so did San Emeterio and Matt Thomas to break the game open, 36-23. An unstoppable Matt Thomas took over with a fast break layup and Will Thomas copied him right after that to make it 40-23. Siva buried a long three-pointer and a dunk by Giedraitis gave ALBA hope at 40-28. Giedraitis hit a triple after a Valencia timeout, but Will Thomas erased it with a layup-plus-foul and Dubljevic added one from beyond the arc. A layup by Dennis Clifford fixed the halftime score at 46-33.
Clifford downed a mid-range jumper immediately after the break, but San Emeterio quickly downed his trademark turnaround shot. Giedraitis hit another corner three-pointer only to see San Emeterio and Labyerie answer to keep Valencia fully in charge, 52-38. A big offensive rebound by Van Rossom allowed Sastre to strike from downtown and an unstoppable San Emeterio boosted the hosts' lead to 56-38. Will Thomas ignited the crowd with a backdoor slam. Siva and Landry Nnoko kept ALBA within 58-41. Aaron Doornekamp fired in a three-pointer and Tobey gave Valencia a new game-high margin, 62-41. Hermannsson struck from downtown to bring ALBA a bit closer, 63-44, after 30 minutes. Thiemann tried to ignite the visitors' comeback early in the fourth quarter, but Dubljevic quickly answered with back-to-back jump hooks for a 67-46 cushion. Giedraitis struck from beyond the arc, but Will Thomas scored again and a three-pointer by San Emeterio sealed the outcome at 72-49 with over 6 minutes left. Dubljevic hit an off-balance shot and even though Giedraitis nailed another three-pointer, he didn't find much help around. Meanwhile, San Emeterio dunked in traffic and Matt Thomas buried a three-pointer that boosted his team's lead to 81-56. ALBA had a bitter end to a fantastic EuroCup season, but in the final game of the season, Valencia showed its best version and cruised to its fourth EuroCup title.
Dubljevic came off the bench and delivered an outstanding performance – 18 points on 6-of-7 two-point shooting, 2-of-3 from downtown, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 fouls drawn for a performance index rating of 27 – in less than 24 minutes! The EuroCup's all-time leading scorer and rebounder lived up to the expectations and led Valencia to a historic win.
A jumper by Johannes Thiemann tied it at 20-20, but Valencia improved its defense. Meanwhile, Matt Thomas buried a three-pointer, Bojan Dubljevic ignited the crowd with a dunk, Joan Sastre added a floater and Will Thomas buried a step-back triple. All of a sudden, Valencia led 30-20 and had full control of the game.
Valencia Basket needed 31 minutes to record its first steal in Game 2, but Game 3 was a completely different story. Valencia finished the game with 9 steals – 4 of which came from Antione Diot to tie the record for most in a EuroCup championship series game. ALBA was held to its lowest scoring output of the season (it had scored 66 against Partizan NIS Belgrade in the regular season) and its lowest team index rating, 59 (which had been 67 in Game 1 of this series).
Did you notice?
Rafa Martinez is the first player to win three EuroCup titles. Martinez won the competition with Valencia in 2010 and 2014. Van Rossom and Dubljevic are now two-time EuroCup champions, while all of the other Valencia players have won the competition for the first time.
Third time is the charm!
San Emeterio and Sastre won the EuroCup title in their third EuroCup Finals appearance. Both of them lost the EuroCup Finals with Valencia in 2017. San Emeterio reached the championship game with Akasvayu Girona in 2008 and Sastre made it to final with Cajasol Sevilla in 2011.
Monday, April 15, 2019