FIBA WORLD CUP : MHP RIESEN (Switzerland) improved to 3-0 in Group E with a win on the road in Istanbul on Wednesday, joining Unicaja (Spain), Surne Bilbao (Spain), and Lenovo Tenerife (Tenerife, Spain) in victory.
Every Tuesday and Wednesday, we provide you our seven key takeaways to help you get through the week, since seven is a fitting number in this, the seventh season.
Top of the Table in the Champions Basketball League
In the year 2022, Spain was victorious in every contest it entered. All of the major international tournaments, culminating in FIBA EuroBasket 2022, took place in Spain, as did the finals of the Basketball Champions League and the Final Four.
Four of the six BCL championships have been won by Spanish clubs, and Spanish teams are presently leading Groups A, D, F, and G in the tournament. In 2018, when AEK beat AS Monaco in the finals, Spanish teams missed the Final for the first time in the tournament’s history.
On a day when Liga Endesa clubs were certain to be front and center, Wednesday was the perfect day for it. With three victories each, Unicaja, Surne Bilbao, and Lenovo Tenerife improved their BCL record to 13–2, the best of any team this season.
It’s never too late to begin studying Spanish…
Best Bet for the Last 16: Team #2
While this season has seen its fair share of dominating squads, one of them is already on the phone with the travel agency, setting out the details of dropping off their bags and checking in for the round of 16. Surne Bilbao is the name.
Bilbao improved to 3-0 in Group D with an 85-80 victory against Igokea m:tel in Laktasi, moving them two games ahead of their nearest competitors. It’s great to be 2-0 with three games left, but knowing that Bilbao will face ERA Nymburk and Igokea m:tel.y: at home makes the situation much more favorable. BCL’s “Spanish Day”
In other words, the credit for the group’s success or failure rests entirely with them.
Coach Jaume Ponsarnau, you deserve a standing ovation! Taking up the reins from Alex Mumbru after he had been at the helm for four years was not a simple choice and might have easily backfired. But Ponsarnau is doing a fantastic job, leading his squad to a perfect 3-0 record in this tournament and a 3-3 record in Liga Endesa.
The Men in Black are reappearing.
Same kind of thing in Group E, number three
While Bilbao have the greatest chance of advancing from their group, they haven’t exactly been the most outstanding squad in the regular season. MHP RIESEN, who came in third place last year, will be defending that title with the hopes of a better showing this time around.
Parallels to the Bilbao incident may be drawn. After losing their long-term coach, MHP RIESEN have started the season 3-0 with a +70 point differential and two road victories (in Jerusalem and Istanbul, no less)!
The first half of the game belonged to Darussafaka, but the boys from Ludwigsburg limited them to only eight points in the second. They jumped off to an early lead and never looked back, eventually winning by 90 points to 70.
Prentiss Hubb ended with 17 points, 7 dimes, and 5 boards, while Justin Johnson scored 15 points, grabbed 5 boards, and dished out 5 dimes. After allowing just one successful three-pointer against Jerusalem, they allowed only three made three-pointers to Darussafaka in 21 attempts.
In their first three BCL games, MHP RIESEN allowed just 11 three-pointers as a team. Just 11. In a total of 66 attempts.
Number 4 for Argentina on Tenerife
Lenovo Away in Israel, Tenerife defeated Bnei Ofek Dist Herzliya 95-57. When you consider that Herzliya were in the game until the middle of the second quarter, when Tenerife ran its signature “Argentina” move, the final score seems even more stunning.
It’s not a play at all. This is a secret code that allows you to skip levels. Once Tim Abromaitis passes to Marcelinho Huertas for a pick-and-pop up top, Sasu Salin may create a cross screen for Giorgi Shermadini in the paint. There are a ton of possible outcomes, but most games end with Huertas passing to Shermadini for a layup.
You’re destroyed as an opponent because you see what’s coming but can’t do anything about it. You know what’s coming, but they know you know. Consequently, they are prepared to react with a strategy in which Marcelinho and Shermadini ignore the screens and instead go for the easiest passes while the defense is preoccupied with avoiding them.
This was all a part of the basketball camp that Lenovo Tenerife hosted that day. They had the most assists (27) of any BCL team. Champions in waiting, take note!
Number Five Basque Mamba Delivers
In the Game of the Week, Unicaja had some difficulty against PAOK mateco, but they put together a strong final quarter and cruised to a 77-63 victory. They surrendered just 9 points in the fourth quarter, which was their best defensive performance of the season in the BCL.
Unicaja is looking like a real threat in their group after being undefeated (3-0) and allowing fewer than 70 points in each of their last two games. The offensive strategy was straightforward: give the ball to the Basque Mamba and get out of the way of his dunks. Ibon Navarro’s defensive strategies are worthy of discussion, but they were not implemented.
Dario Brizuela scored a career-high 27 points, the highest ever scored by a Spanish player in the BCL, on 10-of-14 shooting from the field, including 3-of-4 from 3-point range, and 4-of-4 from the charity stripe. The bright side to Brizuela’s mental breakdown? In just 19 minutes and 26 seconds, he managed to do the task.
If we’re going to argue that Unicaja has a shot, we may as well say that Brizuela deserves to be considered for Most Valuable Player, too.
It’s important to recognize Olaseni, who came in at #6.
Consideration must always be given to the fact that a player’s team’s performance in the tournament is directly related to the player’s chances of being named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. To put it another way, nobody wins until everyone wins.
For the first time in his 27 BCL games, Gabriel Olaseni has put together consecutive 20-point performances. With Darussafaka now sitting at 1-2, it’s difficult to brag about his 25-point performance when there are others with comparable figures and a winning record.
However, Gabe has to be watched closely. He is scoring 19.7 points per game, enough for fifth in the BCL. He is also pulling down 8.7 rebounds per contest, good for fourth, and dishing out 3.3 assists a game, good for twentieth in the league.
Seventh-Round Waller Revival Tour
At the start of the 2016–17 season in Montenegro, Antabia Waller debuted for Mornar Bar. In each of his first four games, he scored double figures, with his high against Mega Basket at 29.
Waller scored 25+ points in this league once again, but it took 40 BCL betting games for him to do it. Igokea m:shooter tel’s showed evidence that his shooting touch is still there after making seven three-pointers and scoring 25 points against Surne Bilbao.
Igokea rely on him to do miracles because of how tightly knit their community is. Igokea, Bahcesehir College, and ERA Nymburk are all 1-2 behind Bilbao’s 3-0, with Igokea holding the greatest +/- (+9).
Scores are tight and every point is important. Waller understands this, which is why he has played so well in his most recent 40 games.