Dominant Doellman leads Valencia to third Eurocup crown
Valencia Basket Club has won its competition-record third Eurocup title after beating Unics Kazan 73-85 in Game 2 of their two-game finals series. Valencia swept the series with a 140-165 aggregate score to win the trophy it previously raised in 2003 and 2010, and also earn a Turkish Airlines Euroleague berth for the 2014-15 season. Valencia never trailed at any point of either finals game, and it dominated Game 2 behind another brilliant performance from Eurocup Finals MVP Justin Doellman, who finished the return leg with 26 points, 5 assists and 4 steals. Valencia played it to perfection on defense, limiting Unics to a Eurocup finals record 4 points in the first quarter. Sam Van Rossom and Doellman made it 4-16 after 10 minutes before 4 consecutive three-pointers – a pair from each Pablo Aguilar and Rafa Martinez – extended the difference to 10-29 in the second quarter, which translated into 32-point series advantage. Unics rallied before halftime, cutting it to 25-39 at the break, but Valencia remained in control and broke the 20-point barrier midway through the third quarter, before extending it to 45-67 (112-147 on aggregate). The visitors cruised after that, as Unics never came closer than 12 points the rest of the way. Martinez netted 14 points for his second Eurocup title, and Van Rossom scored 11. Romain Sato collected 9 points and 7 rebounds, becoming the 13th player to have won both the Euroleague and Eurocup titles. For Unics, Andrew Goudelock scored 22 points, while Ian Vougioukas had 11. Chuck Eidson collected 8 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists in defeat.
First quarter: Great start puts Valencia in charge
Pau Ribas needed just 5 seconds to get Valencia going with a layup. Vougioukas and Van Rossom traded baskets, as Valencia kept full control of the series with intense man-to-man defense. Unics was held scoreless for more than three minutes and a five-meter jumper by Romain Sato gave Valencia a 2-6 edge. Unics could not get Nikos Zisis and Goudelock involved and its whole offense collapsed. Dimitriy Sokolov split free throws but he didn't find much help around. A three-pointer by Van Rossom caused Unics to call timeout at 3-9 – with a 19-point deficit in the series. Doellman made free throws, as Unics could not beat Valencia's defense – 0 of 6 three-point shots and 4 turnovers in seven minutes. A layup by Bojan Dubljevic made it a double-digit game, 3-13. Goudelock split foul shots, but Doellman singlehandedly gave Valencia a 4-16 margin after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Unics improves, but Valencia keeps rolling
Serhiy Lishchuk split free throws early in the second quarter, in which Unics tried a more dynamic frontcourt with Ian Vougioukas and Vladimir Veremeenko together on court. Zisis stepped up with a three-point play that Pablo Aguilar erased with a bomb from downtown, good for a 7-20 Valencia lead. Aguilar insisted with another three-point shot that broke the series open, 7-23 (74-103 aggregate). Veremeenko made free throws, which Martinez bettered with a triple off a screen. Tywain Mckee hit foul shots before another three-pointer by a red-hot Martinez pushed Valencia's lead to 10-29. Goudelock made 3 of 4 free throws and a wild, off-balance triple by Martinez silenced the crowd at 14-32. Goudelock insisted from the foul line and a jump hook by Sokolov kept Unics within 18-32. Doellman scored down low, but Luke Harangody and Goudelock brought Unics closer, 23-34. Doellman struck from downtown and erased Goudelock's free throws with a backdoor layup for a 25-39 Valencia lead - 92-119 in the series - at halftime.
Third quarter: Doellman's exhibition sinks Unics
Veremeenko and Doellman exchanged baskets immediately after the break. Doellman kept pushing Valencia and kept showing MVP credentials with a step-back jumper, good for a 27-43 Valencia lead. Nikita Kurbanov ignited the crowd with a one-handed slam, which Sato bettered with a three-pointer. Goudelock followed a layup with a three-pointer but Doellman banked in a close shot and Sato caused Unics to stop the game at 34-50. Goudelock and Oliver Lafayette exchanged close jumpers, but free throws and a three-pointer by an unstoppable Doellman boosted the guests' lead to 36-58, enough to seal the outcome of the series. Goudelock followed a triple with free throws, but the ever-present Doellman scored in penetration. Martinez, Doellman, Lishchuk and Kurbanov made free throws, as Unics could not get closer. Martinez buried his fourth three-pointer and Eidson also hit one from beyond the arc. Veremeenko dunked to make it 50-69. McKee and Eidson got Unics within 57-71.
Fourth quarter: Valencia takes the trophy
Unics entered the quarter with a momentum, but Valencia grabbed 3 offensive boards on its first trip down the floor. And after Vougioukas made a basket to get Unics within 12, Aguilar hit a jumper and Van Rossom a triple to extend the difference to 59-76 on the night and 126-156 in the series. Zisis and Vougioukas gave the hosts another glimmer of hope, but Vladimir Lucic hit a mid-range jumper, before Van Rossom buried a shot from long range, and Dubljevic from close range for a quick 0-7 run, and a 65-85 lead, which also meant a 33-point series margin with just over four minutes to go. It turned out to be the last basket for Valencia of the night, but its lead was safe. Unics finished the game with 8 consecutive points, including put-backs from Sokolov and Veremeenko, but it was Valencia celebrating at the end.
Wednesday, May 7, 2014