Congratulations go out from BallinEurope this morning to FC Barcelona, Montepaschi Siena and Panathinaikos, perhaps each respectively their nation’s top basketball club, for taking domestic cup titles this weekend.
In Spain, FC Barcelona showed no letup after outlasting Real Madrid in Thursday’s barnburner from the Copa Del Rey quarterfinal round and cruised through Valencia BC in the finals, 85-69. Nice to note that BiE fave Pete Mickael snagged this year’s MVP award from within a relentless and balanced Blaugrana attack.
In Italy, Euroleague side Montepaschi Siena may have put some fear into Serie A Cinderella Cimberio Varese. Despite Varese’s two-game lead over the perpetual champs of Italia (not to mention the upset victory in week three), Bobby Brown (with 23 points and seven assists in the final) and tourney MVP Daniel Hackett were too much for Bryant Dunston and the upstarts. Siena added to the trophy case with a 74-67 win.
Meanwhile, in Greece and Serbia, things weren’t so calm – sadly too often the case.
Greece saw its cup final interrupted by fandom, producing yet another “Final of Shame” in that country. Held on a neutral homecourt, both sides of fans within the reduced crowd of 1,800 behaved badly to say the least: Olympiacos’ Kyle Hines reportedly fainted after being hit by a flare which burned some of the hair on his head; and after Mike Bramos was struck by an object thrown from the stands in the 13th minute, the referees stopped the game. Rioting ensued, the gym was evacuated and the game was finished in front of empty stands.
In case anyone cares – and it’s apparent these Green and Red fans don’t really mind about, you know, scores and results – Panathinaikos won the ‘Cup, 81-78. Olympiacos players refused to collect their silver medals after the game.
Describing Olympiacos as a “club of filth,” Panathinaikos owner Dimitris Giannakopoulos went on to tee off on the Reds’ history of fan violence: “It’s unthinkable that something like this happens. What else is left to be seen? What we should remember? The stones that were thrown in our team’s bus last season, something that had also happened before? … It’s not acceptable that the victim and the violator receive the same punishment. They ‘destroy’ the game when it’s in their favor…”
In Serbia, the finish of the Korac Cup final between Red Star Belgrade and Partizan was postponed in the third quarter with the score at 43-43, after some sort of incendiary device was release and Partizan fans stormed the court. The game will be concluded tonight in front of an empty house – kind of a buzzkill, but one can’t say these fans didn’t get the minimum of what they deserved.