Pamesa Valencia put itself at the top of Group G and Fortitudo in trouble by holding onto a 71-77 road victory in Bologna, Italy on Tuesday with help from a former hero on the same court. Pamesa is now 2-0 and alone in first place, while Fortitudo joins BC FMP and Artland Dragons at 1-1 each. A recent Fortitudo hero, Ruben Douglas, paced the winners from Valencia with 20 points and captured 6 steals as well. Kosta Perovic follwed him with 16 pointsa nd 8 rebounds, while Shammond Williams added 13 points and Albert Oliver 11. Gregor Fucka was Fortitudo's leader with 17 points and 8 rebounds. Qyntel Woods added 16 points for the hosts, D.J. Strawberry 14 and Uros Slokar 10. Pamesa took its first solid leads in the second quarter and stayed one step ahead the rest of the way thanks to solid 21-for-24 free throw shooting.
After the fans gave a splendid welcome-back to Ruben Douglas, whose buzzer-beater won the Italian League in 2005 for Fortitudo, the hosts got on the board first with Slokar converting a pretty fed from Gordon. Mancinelli, from the arc, and Fucka combined for an early 7-2 Fortitudo advantage, but a couple of turnovers later, Pamesa was within one. A reverse layup by Gordon and Fucka's jump shot restored a five-point edge for the hosts. Pamesa insisted inside with Perovic dominating Slokar, drawing fouls and sending him on the bench at 13-12 after 8 minutes. Fucka was working hard inside, too, and combined foul shots with a dunk right after the first triple by Douglas, letting Fortitudo win the first quarter, 17-15. The second quarter started spectacularly, with a Perovic throw-down and Woods beating the shot clock. Nielsen scored the last basket preceding a three-minute scoring drought at 19-19. Douglas broke the silence from the foul line and added two more baskets from turnovers to give Pamesa a 21-25 lead, forcing a timeout from Fortitudo head coach Dragan Sakota. Alessandro Cittadini reacted with a three-point play for the hsots before Williams and Woods exchanged triples at 27-28. A technical foul on Coach Sakota cost his team 5 points on free throws by Williams and a triple from Rafa Martinez that made it 27-33 Pamesa. Next, visiting head coach Neven Spahlja had his own technical, and after those free throws were all missed, Strawberry drilled from long-range to get Fortitudo within 31-35 at the half.
Marcelinho Huertas of Fortitudo and Williams exchanged lovely floaters to open the half. Fucka picked up where he left off, with a basket-plus-free throw to which Strawberry added a hang-time basket that brought Bologna within 38-39. However, a Perovic tap-in dunk and a lucky bounce on a jumper by Williams got Pamesa back ahead by 38-43. Douglas took over with a splendid catch-and-shoot triple and a jumper while Fucka tried to keep the hosts close. Soon, it was Slokar taking over. He converted an alley-oop assist from Marcelinho, 2 free throws and a spectacular alley-oop jumper to beat the clock and get Fortitudo back within 49-50. Just as quickly, however, Oliver and Ermal Kuqo hit free throws and Albert Miralles a jumper as Pamesa went to the final quarter with a 55-50 lead. Foul shots by Mancinelli and Woods brought Fortitudo within 53-55 again, but Douglas remembered his good times in Basket City and scored the next 4 points on free throws and a steal for a 53-59 score. Woods nailed the triple that charged up the home crowd, but Oliver copied him to silence them. That's when Perovic gave his team its biggest lead with a put-back dunk at 56-64. Strawberry showed his energy once more but Oliver added to Fortitudo's misery with another triple, forcing Sakota to gather his players at 58-67 with less than 5 minutes left. Woods tried to spur his team on with consecutive baskets but Fortitudo never got closer than 7 points until Strawberry hit a triple 22 seconds from time to give Bologna some hope. Oliver did not falter from the line, however, consolidating Pamesa's status of group favourite with a valuable away win.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Fabrice Turmel, Bologna