Yanni Wetzell looked at the referee in disbelief. Everything went against the center of Alba Berlin, who picked up several fouls within a few seconds – some of them worthy of discussion – and had to call it a day early.
The final quarter was also rather frustrating for his team. After a temporary lead, the Berliners lost 88:94 (25:24, 22:26, 21:17, 20:27) to play-off contenders Valencia Basket on Thursday evening in front of 7,278 spectators in the MB Arena. In the Euroleague it was the third defeat in a row.
Both teams started the game at a crazy pace. After just two and a half minutes it was 10:10 and all eight shots found their way into the basket. The teams were very safe, especially from a distance, and at Alba this was especially true for Maodo Lo. The national player started with two quick threes and already had 15 points at halftime – in the end it was 25.
It was an intense and close game between the two teams that faced each other in the final of the Eurocup almost four years ago. There were still a few players on both sides from that squad, although Valencia had to do without experienced players in Bojan Dubljevic and Sam van Rossom, as well as former Berlin player Martin Hermannsson.
After an absolutely even first quarter, the Spaniards seemed to be slowly pulling away in the second half. Alba made some frivolous turnovers and Valencia punished them with the confidence of a side who have recently won five games in all competitions. The Berlin team, led by Lo, reduced the seven-point deficit to three points by the break.
However, Alba could not carry this momentum into the second half. Valencia now played more clearly and the Berliners lacked support for the outstanding Lo. It took five minutes, but then she came in the person of Johannes Thiemann.
A nice threesome by the national player initiated a small intermediate sprint. Yovel Zoosman followed up from the same position in the corner and a layup by Thiemann gave Alba the lead again after a long time.
Things went back and forth in the final quarter. Alba had problems at the start and remained without a point for almost three minutes. Valencia took advantage of this and advanced, but the hosts found an answer. Two and a half minutes before the end it was a draw again and the game was on a knife edge. But the Spaniards had better nerves and the necessary luck on their side.
Brayden White, a veteran sports writer at Global Happening, brings his wealth of knowledge and expertise to the sports section. With over a decade of experience, he is committed to delivering high-quality coverage of the latest games and events.