2007-08QuarterfinalsGame 1
April 11, 2008 CET: 21:00
Local time: 21:00 PALAVELA

Akasvayu Girona beating Unics Kazan 75-66

Akasvayu Girona became the last team to advance to the ULEB Cup semifinals by beating Unics Kazan 75-66 in the last game of the quarterfinals at Palavela in Turin, Italy on Friday night. Akasvayu will keep fighting for ULEB Cup glory and will face Dynamo Moscow in the next round. Meanwhile, Unics Kazan finished its ULEB Cup run this season and missed star center Darjus Lavrinovic, who did not play due to a last-minute back injury. Arriel McDonald and Marc Gasol paced the winners each with 19 points. Branko Cvetkovic had 14 while Ivan Radenovic added 10 for Akasvayu, that will go against his coach last season, Svetislav Pesic, now in Dynamo Moscow. Dusko Savanovic and Sergei Chikalkin each had 12 points for Unics, Tariq Kirksay added 11 while Virgil Stanescu got 10. Chikalkin and Kirksay shined in the first quarter, but a layup by Gasol allowed Akasvayu to get a 25-24 edge after 10 minutes. Akasvayu did not trail in the second quarter, but an outstanding Savanovic helped Unics to tie the game, 36-36, at halftime. A dunk by Victor Keyru gave Unics its last lead of the game, 42-43, but that's when McDonald decided to take over. He had all points in a 7-0 Akasvayu run and soon added a jumper for a 59-50 lead after 30 minutes. Unics did not recover, as Radenovic and Cvetkovic made sure that all Akasvayu fans could celebrate a big win minutes before the final buzzer.

Unics started Dmitry Sokolov started at center in place of Lavrinovic, but he had troubles right away. Gasol stole the first pass to him and drew Sokolov's first two fouls in less than a minute. Gasol made 1 of 2 free throws to start the scoring, while Jerry McCullough came the other way, got fouled and put Unics ahead 1-2 at the line. Erik Daniels of Akasvayu and Kirksay of Unics traded inside baskets before Sokolov got whistled for his third foul and left. Cvetkovic scored in close for Akasvayu, as did Virgil Stanescu for Unics. McDonald took the lead back for Akasvayu at 7-6 on a floating jumper. Cvetkovic tried to widen the advantage with a triple, but Sergei Chikalkin matched him from deep. When McDonald insisted, blasting from the corner for Akasvayu, Chikalkin copied him, too. The tug-of-war continued with Gasol and Kirksay trading baskets before Chikalkin scored again to keep Unics up 14-15. Victor Sada missed both his free throws for Akasvayu, but put back the rebound of his second miss to put his team back in front. Kirksay tied at the foul line, 17-17, then Cvetkovic hit a jumper to keep Akasvayu in front. After a timeout, Kirksay went back inside to tie, Ivan Radenovic answered for Akasvayu and Stanescu forged another tie, 21-21. After Maurice Whitfield hit free throws for Akasvayu, Stanescu tied it putting back one offensive rebound and got the go-ahead free throw after another, but Akasvayu found Gasol inside to finish the first quarter ahead by 25-24.

Unics kept rebounding well at both ends but could not find points early in the second quarter. Meanwhile, Stanescu picked up his third foul, making Unics head coach Aco Petrovic open the floor with Dusko Savanovic and Marko Tusek on court. Both teams went scoreless for almost 2 minutes until Fernando San Emeterio stepped up with a running jumper for Unics. His team then struggled to find points in a four-chance possession after which a layup by Gasol gave Akasvayu a 29-24 lead. Kirksay, now playing point forward, took over with a floating jump hook that Keyru followed with a layup at 29-28. Gasol scored inside but the ever-present Kirksay collected a steal and fed Savanovic for an easy basket. McDonald struck from downtown to restore a 34-30 Akasvayu edge. Unics called timeout to fix its offense and Savanovic sank a five-meter jumper. Gasol made free throws, however, as Unics kept missing second-chance possessions now. Savanovic took over with a wild driving layup to single-handedly bring Unics within 36-34. Once again a red-hot Savanovic hit a jumper off a pick-and-roll with Chikalkin for a 36-36 tie at halftime.

Cvetkovic scored in penetration right after the break while Daniels added an acrobatic layup for a 40-36 Akasvayu lead. Unics opted to attack the basket, too, where it was already rebounding well on offense. Stanescu scored in a second-chance Unics offense but Gasol fed Cvetkovic for a tough reverse layup. McCullough struck from downtown while Keyru dunked it off a midcourt steal as Unics regained the lead at 42-43. Akasvayu struggled to score now until Daniels and Gasol made free throws to provide another lead change, 45-43, midway through this quarter. Chikalkin sank a jumper off a screen but Gasol matched it with a two-handed dunk. McDonald scored off a steal for a four-point Akasvayu lead at 49-45. Tusek fired in a shot from downtown but McDonald followed free throws with a fastbreak layup to keep his team ahead, 53-48. Unics had lost control on offense while McDonald - who else? - sank a three-pointer to cap a personal 7-0 run that made Unics call timeout at 56-48. Kirksay switched to point forward again while Nikita Kurbanov made free throws. McDonald was unstoppable, however, and hit his trademark stop-and-pop jumper. A free throw by Whitfield fixed the score at 59-50 for Akasvayu after three quarters.

Savanovic had a big block on Daniels early in the fourth quarter while a free throw by Stanescu gave his team some hope at 59-51. Radenovic took over with a three-point play, however, enough for Akasvayu to get its first double-digit lead at 62-51. Kirksay scored around the basket but Radenovic shined with a layup in transition to make Unics call timeout at 64-53 with 7 minutes to go. Akasvayu had already entered the foul bonus, however, so Unics tried to go the foul line as often as possible. It was Cvetkovic, however, who did not miss from the foul line to make it a 12-point game, 66-54. Savanovic made free throws and soon added a put-back layup to bring Unics within single digits, 66-58. Akasvayu quickly called timeout and Gasol stepped up with a big basket in the low post. Unics was running out of time and kept trying to attack the basket. McCullough hit more foul shots that Radenovic erased with an easy layup. Unics kept trying but it was already too little, to late, as Akasvayu was already in the ULEB Cup semifinals!

Friday, April 11, 2008
Javier Gancedo, Turin, Italy
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Attendance: 4790
By Quarter1234
Akasvayu Girona25112316
Unics Kazan24121416
End of Quarter1234
Akasvayu Girona25365975
Unics Kazan24365066
Akasvayu Girona
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
5 CVETKOVIC, BRANKO 28:20 14 4/5 1/3 3/6 1 4 5 1 1 1     3 5 16
8 SADA, VICTOR 26:15 2 1/2 0/1 0/2 1 5 6 8 1 4     4 1 6
10 McDONALD, ARRIEL 34:08 19 4/4 3/7 2/2         1 2     2 2 14
11 NAGYS, TOMAS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
15 DANIELS, ERIK 21:36 6 2/5 0/1 2/3   3 3 1 1 4   1   2 3
18 MONTANEZ, ROMAN DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
19 SAN EMETERIO, FERNANDO 17:32 2 1/2 0/1     4 4     2 1   3 1 1
32 WHITFIELD, MAURICE 13:45 3     3/4         1       2 2 3
33 GASOL, MARC 31:48 19 6/8 0/1 7/10 2 2 4 3 2 4 2   2 8 26
44 MIDDLETON, DARRYL DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
55 RADENOVIC, IVAN 26:36 10 4/6 0/2 2/3   5 5     1     4 3 8
Totals 200:00 75 22/32 4/16 19/30 4 23 27 13 7 18 3 1 20 24 77
        68.8% 25% 63.3%
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
Unics Kazan
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
7 LAVRINOVIC, DARJUS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
8 SERGEEV, PAVEL DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
10 PADIUS, NIKOLAY 5:24   0/1 0/1   1   1             1  
15 CHIKALKIN, SERGEI 20:48 12 3/7 2/4         1       1     6
17 TUSEK, MARKO 23:58 5 0/3 1/6 2/4 1 2 3     1   2 2 2 -5
20 SOKOLOV, DMITRY 15:57 2 1/3     1   1     1     5 1 -4
21 KIRKSAY, TARIQ 32:49 11 5/7 0/4 1/2 3 4 7 4 3 4     3 2 13
23 KEYRU, VICTOR 23:48 5 2/3 0/3 1/2 1 1 2 1 3       3 3 6
24 McCULLOUGH, JERRY 29:38 7   1/3 4/4   6 6 1 3 3     4 3 11
30 SAVANOVIC, DUSKO 25:07 12 5/7 0/2 2/2 1 4 5   2 3 1   3 2 12
31 STANESCU, VIRGIL 17:33 10 4/7 0/2 2/6 4 1 5           4 4 6
40 KURBANOV, NIKITA 4:58 2   0/1 2/2           1       2 2
Team           1   1 1             2
Totals 200:00 66 20/38 4/26 14/22 13 18 31 8 11 13 1 3 24 20 49
        52.6% 15.4% 63.6%
Head coach: PETROVIC, ACO

Head Coaches

Akasvayu Girona
"It was a game as we expected, which is to say difficult for us. In the first half, Unics dominated the rhythm and played as they wanted, with long possessions that were not comfortable for us. They had a lot, I would say too many, offensive rebounds, and those led to easy baskets. In the second half, we were able to correct that problem and from there we got control of the game. In the third quarter, Arriel McDonald managed to change the momentum by hitting some big shots, and then with the help of his teammates we were able to keep control. Arriel is a player with a competitive spirit, and today he showed that. We are hoping that in a competition like this, almost without any rest, which is very tough for everyone, that each day we will have players who play above their normal level. I'm not saying a lot above their normal level, but a little. Today, Arriel has been that player, but I am sure that tomorrow they'll plan a defense to stop him. I think we are a good team and we have to come up with other options from among our other players."
Unics Kazan
"First, congratulations to Girona. They really played well, above all in the third quarter, when the game was decided. We defended badly against the pick-and-roll and situations in the low post. We had a couple chances to get closer in the last quarter, but we missed too many open shots and were unable to reduce the advantage that Girona got. It's a pity that Lavrinovic wasn't able to play today. I don't say we would have won with him, but we would have had more options if Lavrinovic had played and more chances to win. But when a team plays a real tough game as Girona did, what can you do against that? I'd like to congratulate Girona again, and would like to congratulate the organization of these quarterfinals. Our team couldn't have hoped for anything better in terms of organization, so thank you again for this quarterfinal in Turin."


Akasvayu Girona
"Our defense in the second half was one of the keys. We’ve been patient and played a good game, especially in that second half. The first half, we didn’t play good defense, but in the second half we did and that pushed us to the win. Dynamo is a very experienced team with a lot of experienced players, probably a bigger team. But we know how to attack their defense because we've known that defense for a long time. We have to be patient and move the ball around while playing the same defense as we did against Unics. We want to play in the final, and we'll see what happens tomorrow. We definitely want to be in the final, so for that we have to win tomorrow."
Akasvayu Girona
I feel really good right now because we did have a lot of respect for Unics. We knew they were a very good and a very strong team. It shows that now we are starting to improve our quality and we did an excellent job to win the game tonight. The biggest thing that we talked about at halftime was offensive rebounding and trying to stop them from getting easy baskets. We did that in the second half, enough to win the game. I enjoy these kinds of situations a little. It's kind of funny because after a while you get used to it and then you don't have nerves anymore. It's almost like any other game. These kinds of games are good for me, good for my head, and I enjoy playing them. We have a lot of motivation to play against Dynamo because we're playing against our former coach from last season. We know they're a big club, they have a lot of pressure, they've got to win. Finally, for once in my career, I can play the underdog. I'm liking that."
Akasvayu Girona
"Always that I play a game I go for the win and today was no exception. The rebounds? It's a matter of going for the ball and a little luck. Of course, if you play many minutes you also have more possibilities to get one. Today I was not well in offense but I shared the ball and the team was comfortable with that. I think we have to improve the free throws which could have been a bad thing for us, but in the end we managed to pull it off. Tomorrow we have another game and I hope it will be better than tonight's."
Akasvayu Girona
"The game was close almost all the way until the end of the last quarter but in the final minutes we managed to get the lead that allows you to play with more head and do things as they are supposed to. The game against Dynamo should be a fun game against one of the favorites to win this competition. We have to try to do our thing and see if we manage to get the win."
Akasvayu Girona
"The game was so close, it was hard to get the win. Everybody stepped up to win this one because we certainly didn't win it because of good play. I mean we played well but we won thisone with heart. We can play much better than this and I hope tomorrow we will play more relaxed. Now we have to play Dynamo Moscow. We'll see what happens but they are favorite on paper. If we play like we can like we normally play in the Spanish League I think we can beat them. For sure I know they will have a strong motivation and that they have big names. They will fight. I don't know what the outcome will be but we surely can expect a big fight."
Unics Kazan
"I think we could have won but with his absence we tried to do different things and it didn't work out. Arriel McDonald played well but We helped them with our turnovers. I don't think he did anything special because he is a great player, but we just had many turnovers and they took advantage of it."
Unics Kazan
"We made too many mistakes tonight, especially in offense. The Final Eight is a good idea, something new and exciting. Of course, I will never forget the ULEB Cup final I played with Aris in Charleroi. It was unbelievable and it will always stay in my mind. We prepared the game well but we didn't manage to execute well. I hope we can use this as a lesson. We have a very important game for the third spot in the Russian League regular season. The sooner we forget about this, better for us."
Unics Kazan
"We prepared the game knowing that Darjus Lavrinovic may not play. We tried different things but didn't work out. You cannot be satisfied when you make it to the Final Eight and get out of the tournament in the first game. That was our goal, winning the game. Of course, we did a good job to make it to the Final Eight and come here but unfortunately we couldn't make it further."
Unics Kazan
"It was a difficult game because our big men got into foul trouble very early. We played to play small ball, playing with two power forwards. They did a good job against that and offensively, we did too many one-on-ones. Our offense was not very fluent. I took responsabilities but I didnp't help my team they way I am supposed to. We missed Darjus Lavrinovic and he might have made the difference, because we had aproblems with just three big men. We missed him a lot of time throughout the season. Our big men did a good job, I think, but got in foul trouble and that's a part of the game. They kept fighting and we didn't get them the ball to get Marc Gasol in foul trouble. We looked like the team we were in the beginning of the year, trying to find ourselves. I think we were more prepared for the game that we showed."
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