Eurocellulari Roseto took a huge step forward on Tuesday when it handed visiting Pamesa Valencia its first ULEB Cup loss by the resounding score of 77-57 in Group A. Besides avenging and even bigger blowout loss when the teams met first in Valencia, Roseto evened its record at 3-3, good for a third-place tie with Pivovarna. Pamesa, meanwhile, missed the big door to becoming the first team to qualify for the ULEB Cup's second round. The visitors can blame Roseto's defense and its new shooting star, guard Rodney Monroe, who marked his return from a preseason knee injury with 18 points, all scored in the last 13 minutes of the game. The key to the game before that was a 3-2 zone aligned by coach Phil Melillo during the third and fourth period. After three easy baskets scored, Pamesa lost its way to the basket and in the final period managed just 10 points. The scoring leader for the home team was Teemu Rannikko with 19 points, while Marko Milic added 18 and 10 boards. Roseto has also won the battle under the glasses pulling down 42 rebounds against just 23 for one of the best rebounding teams in rebounding of the competition. Pmaesa has been led by 14 points of Dejan Tomasevic, the only visitor to reach double digits, while Nacho Rodilla and Fabricio Oberto contributed 9 each.
For the first time at PalaAnastasi of Roseto there was a big crowd for a European challenge. The fans knew it was a no-return game, and the team needed their push, trying to beat the only undefeated team in the competition, Pamesa. The game was tough from the first minutes, with big defense, physical impact and great intensity, but it was Rannikko the main protagonist in the first 10 minutes, posting 11 points on 3 huge three-pointers to give the chance to Eurocellulari to stay close to Pamesa. Both teams played man-to-man defense, though for a few minutes in the second Pamesa aligned a 2-3 zone. But the visitors were back to the individual with a fantastic duel between Milic and rising star Federico Kammerichs of Pamesa. The first half finished 33-33 with the scoring as usual well distributed between the players of Valencia and Tomasevic leading with 8 points.
The pivotal moment of the game was in the middle of the third period. Eurocellulari, already aligned in the zone defense, suffered a three-pointer by Rodilla that gave Pamesa a 40-45 lead. But Roseto answered with a 12-0 run to surge ahead at 52-45 and finish the period up 54-47. The 3-2 matchup zone and also the foruth foul of Pamesa guard Alessandro Abbio coincided with Monroe starting to get hot. The fourth period opened with his three-pointer and from then on, it was Monroe's personal show to excite his new crowd and assure his team one of the big victories in Europe this season.
Tuesday, December 3, 2002