Valencia rallies past Maccabi in a thriller
In one of the wildest comebacks in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague this season, Valencia Basket registered a valuable home win by edging Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv 82-80 at La Fonteta on Friday. Valencia improved to 6-3 in the standings while Maccabi dropped to 3-7. Maccabi, powered by an unstoppable Scottie Wilbekin, led 70-77 with 2:21 left but Valencia rallied and Derrick Williams tied the game, 80-80, with 7.4 seconds left. After a timeout, Maccabi tried to put the ball in Wilbekin's hands to try to win, but Bojan Dubljevic got a steal and fed Sam Van Rossom for the game-winning layup in astonishing fashion. Klemen Prepelic led the winners with 22 points. Derrick Williams added 15 while Mike Tobey had 12 for Valencia. Maccabi got 25 points from Wilbekin and 15 from Angelo Caloiaro while suffering its fourth defeat in five games.
Dubljevic got Valencia going with a jump-hook and Prepelic added a three-pointer for a 5-0 lead. Wilbekin answered from downtown but back-to-back baskets by Jaime Pradilla boosted the hosts' lead to 9-3. Ante Zizic dunked and Elijah Bryant added a driving layup but an unstoppable Prepelic kept Valencia in charge, 14-7. Caloiaro and Dragan Bender stepped up for Maccabi and a layup by Othello Hunter brought the guests within 16-14. Tobey and Wilbekin exchanged three-pointers to fix the score at 19-17 after 10 minutes. Williams and Tobey boosted the hosts' margin to 23-17 early in the second quarter. Hunter and Oz Blayzer fueled a 0-6 Maccabi run, then Caloiaro bettered Fernando San Emeterio's layup with a triple that gave Maccabi its first lead, 25-26. Tobey insisted from downtown and Prepelic added a floater to give the hosts fresh air at 30-28. Zizic answered with a put-back layup but Prepelic and Williams restored a 35-30 Valencia lead. Wilbekin followed a corner triple with a fastbreak layup, then Nikola Kalinic and Zizic traded layups for a 37-37 tie. Dubljevic and Louis Labeyrie helped the hosts regain a 43-37 lead at halftime. Bender sank a three-pointer right after the break. Prepelic and Bryant exchanged layups and Labeyrie hit a jump hook for a 47-42 score. Wilbekin and Caloiaro each struck from downtown in an 0-8 run that put Maccabi ahead, 47-50. Prepelic answered from beyond the arc but a circus shot by Wilbekin and a layup by Bender restored a 50-54 Maccabi lead. Prepelic, Chris Jones and Williams each hit a triple, and Van Rossom kept Valencia within 58-59 after 30 minutes. Tobey downed an alley-oop slam early in the fourth quarter, igniting a 6-0 run that Martin Hermannsson capped with a three-pointer. Tobey dunked again but Blayzer and Caloiaro brought Maccabi as close as 66-63. Wilbekin sank his fifth triple and Bryant buried his first one for a 66-69 score with 4 minutes left. Williams rescued Valencia with a put-back basket but Wilbekin struck twice from downtown and fed Zizic for an alley-oop, giving Maccabi a 70-77 lead with over 2 minutes left. Guillem Vives hit a triple, San Emeterio and Prepelic hit free throws, and Williams struck from beyond the arc to tie it at 80-80 with 7.4 seconds to go. Dubljevic collected a steal and fed Van Rossom for the game-winning layup with 2.9 seconds remaining. Wilbekin missed from way downtown at the buzzer, as Valencia celebrated a big win in come-from-behind fashion!
Prepelic led Valencia throughout the entire game and had another career night. He finished the game with a personal-best 22 points, hitting 4-of-5 two-point shots, 4-of-6 three-pointers and 2-of-2 free throws, adding 2 rebounds, 3 assists and 5 fouls drawn for a PIR of 24.
San Emeterio drew a foul with 1:13 left and Valencia down by six points, 73-79. He hit both free throws, Bryant missed at the other end, Prepelic was also perfect from the foul line, Bender split attempts, Williams tied the game with a three-pointer and Dubljevic collected a key steal which allowed Van Rossom to win the game. What a comeback!
Valencia finished the game with 23 assists and Maccabi only had 15. Valencia also shot the ball with slightly better percentages (55.9% 2FG, 47.6% 3FG, 73.7% FT to Maccabi's 51.5% 2FG, 40.6% 3FG, 50% FT), but this time, the game went down to intangibles like resilience, determination and character.
Did you know?
Dubljevic set a new personal-best in assists twice this season. He had 6 assists against Panathinaikos OPAP Athens earlier on this season. Tonight, Dubljevic did even better with 7 assists, none more important than the final one to Van Rossom to win the game!
In Round 11 next week, Valencia visits Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul on Friday, November 27 in what will be a special game for former Fenerbahce players Williams and especially Kalinic, who helped lead that team to its only EuroLeague title in 2017. On Thursday, Maccabi welcomes AX Armani Exchange Milan, featuring its own former guard, Michael Roll, in a rematch of the 1987 and 1988 EuroLeague championship games.
Friday, November 20, 2020