Bench boosted Valencia's long-awaited win in Piraeus

Dec 17, 2020 by Print
Bench boosted Valencia's long-awaited win in Piraeus

Valencia Basket left Greece with a big smile on Wednesday after defeating Olympiacos Piraeus 85-96. One of the reasons was that it finally snapped a nine-game losing streak against the Reds, also because it was just the second time ever that Valencia claimed a victory at Peace and Friendship Stadium. The first and only such previous occasion took place 17 year ago, on November 2003, when Valencia defeated Olympiacos 69-77 behind 16 points from Dimos Dikoudis.

But, besides that historical fact, visitors' satisfaction came from deeper, as they looked quite proud about the way they earned the win.

"I think we played today our most consistent game of the season so far," head coach Jaume Ponsarnau stated in the post-game press-conference.

Valencia scored 96 points, its best offensive register this season, and did not trail after Fernando San Emeterio's three-point play supplied a 5-6 lead after 3 minutes. The visitors kept double-digits leads for most of the game and showed an incredible efficiency against the Olympiacos defense, suffocating each and every comeback attempt with timely answers from all over the place.

Leading the competition in two-point shooting and assists, Valencia proved again to be one of the most efficient teams when it comes to attacking the rim. The visitors shot an impressive 65.7% on two-pointers and 47.6% on threes while dishing 20 assists. They made their first 6 two-point shots over the game's first 12 minutes.

That seemed to please Coach Ponsarnau when it came down to explaining how he likes his team to play.

"We believe in our game, in shooting the ball well, it is very important to pass the ball, that's our concept of basketball," he said. "We have guys at the low post, like Dubljevic, Kalinic, Williams and San Emeterio, and can play in dynamic situations like transition or pick-and-roll. That's our philosophy."

Efficiency was one of the keys, but balance was also remarkable in Valencia's win. Fully 49 out of the visitors' 96 total points came from just four bench scorers – Martin Hermannsson, Nikola Kalinic, Mike Tobey and Derrick Williams – which also speaks about team's excellent poise.

So thought Derrick Williams, who finished with 16 points in just 23 minutes: "We have really a good team, from top to bottom. It doesn’t matter who starts; we have lots of guys in this team that can really play. Whoever's name is called is ready to play, as you could see tonight."