Congratulations go out from BallinEurope today to a quartet of national Cup holders in Real Madrid, Beşiktaş Milangaz, Chalon-sur-Saone and Montepaschi Siena. The former three victories are set to be particularly noted in club annals: Real ended a 19-year drought while Beşiktaş and Chalon both bagged their first-ever championships in their respective national cup tournaments after each were runners-up in 2011. Below run game wraps and highlight clips.
In Spain, Madrid won their first Spanish Cup since Arvydas Sabonis was on the team with a convincing 92-74 victory over FC Barcelona on the Blaugrana home court. Twenty-three was the magic number for Los Blancos, as Madrid took its 23rd such title behind 23 points from tournament MVP Sergio Llull. An extrapolation from the Liga Endesa’s official site goes something like the following.
Real Madrid won the trophy that had eluded the team since 1993, 91-74, and they did so in Barcelona against a side that had enjoyed a 14-2 run against The Whites in this tournament.
Real Madrid, much more comfortable on the floor, wrote the script from start to finish for its biggest day in recent times with a perfect approach: Pablo Laso called for the high tempo that he favors. With tournament MVP Sergio Llull (10 points in seven minutes) starting out hot, Los Blancos led after the first period, 22-17, and finished with nine-point lead at 42-33 after Llull’s three-pointer at the halftime buzzer.
However, as happened in the semifinals, Barça gained an advantage in the third, stringing together a few minutes of magic led by Boniface Ndong and Erazem Lorbek to get as close as 52-51. At that time, Jaycee Carroll (who finished with 22 points) emerged, with six points in a few seconds to ultimately put Real up 65-56 at the end of the quarter. After an 8-0 run by Madrid, the Whites were able to cruise to victory and take the baton from Sabonis, Arlauckas & Co.
• With the cup title, Real Madrid managed to lift the curse stemming from controversy in the team’s 1993 victory in La Coruña. That year, Clifford Luyk was the coach and Arvydas Sabonis was the centerpiece.
• Pablo Laso now has his first title from in front of the bench, but it’s not his first Spanish Cup: The Whites’ coach won the trophy when as a player with Taugrés Vitoria in the ‘95 edition of the tournament in Granada over Amway Zaragoza, 98-80.
• Going into the tournament, Barcelona and Real had each notched 22 wins in Spanish Cup tournaments. With the win, Madrid now leads the all-time table in the category. Since the ACB took over organization of the tournament, Barcelona has taken nine titles, Baskonia six, Madrid five, Zaragoza two and Asefa Estudiantes two.
• Felipe Reyes becomes the first current Real Madrid player with two Spanish Cup titles; Reyes was on Baskonia’s 2000 ‘Cup winning side.
• Perhaps most notable at all for Real Madrid is that the victory gave the team its first official title on any level since 2007, when Los Blancos were crowned ACB champions after defeating – you guessed it – Barcelona.
• Most compelling stat of the tournament, historically speaking: Two Cups in Barcelona, two white titles, i.e. in the only two occasions in which Barça’s home was host to the Spanish Cup, Real has won it.
Beşiktaş Milangaz won its first-ever title on any level with its 78-74 victory over tournament surprise Banvit – and Adam Morrison became associated with his first national title since his days “with” the Los Angeles Lakers.
After a back-and-fourth first quarter when ended knotted up at 18, Banvit looked primed for an upset, outscoring the Eagles, 24-15, to take a seven-point lead into the locker room. Beşiktaş re-found the way in the third, however, behind Morrison and Barış Hersek’s shooting (they finished with nine and 13 points, respectively), a couple of nice contributions from Carlos Arroyo (nine points, eight rebounds, six assists), plus Pops Mensah-Bonsu (11 points, 12 rebounds) controlling the paint in the third won Beşiktaş the lead back after the quarter and were able to hold on for the win.
With an admirably balanced attack which saw seven of its eight players receiving court time score nine of more points – Morrison, Hersek, Arroyo, Mensah-Bonsu, David Hawkins (13 points, four rebounds), Serhat Çetin (14), Erwin Dudley (nine points, nine rebounds) – tournament officials awarded the MVP trophy to Çetin.
Can BiE just rerun an archived story to describe Montepaschi Siena’s Coppa Italia victory on the weekend? Italy’s perpetual Euroleague team made it four-for-four with its 88-71 win over 2010-11 Serie A runners-up Bennet Cantù. Italy-based La Gazzetto della Sport reports the following, as extrapolated by BiE.
Montepaschi Siena won the Coppa Italia by beating Bennet Cantù, 88-71, in the finals for its 12th consecutive Italian trophy since 2008. In Torino, Siena was never at a disadvantage in the game and won with far greater authority that in the previous three finals won against the Cantù. One game does not make history, but the message the league is strong: Siena has no intention of abdicating its crown and would-be suitors must not expect lags in motivation and performance.
With David Andersen having predicted a low-scoring game two days before, the first few minutes of the game seemed to bear him out, although Andersen himself started immediately with two baskets. The Siena defense had one of its better days in forcing both tempo and turnovers from Cantù. One key part of the Montepaschi attack is the variety of new solutions, and this game had Ksistof Lavrinovic pulling the giant Giorgi Shermadini up to seven meters from the basket. Vladimir Micov went in fits and starts as usual, but Maarten Leunen and Shermadini performed well enough in cleaning up that glass that Siena managed only a 21-16 first-quarter lead.
Siena served up some nice perimeter defense in the second, and Cantù was given even more problems, with Andersen and Lavrinovic punishing the contenders three times in a row to give their side an 11-point lead. Doron Perkins kept Bo McCalebb tame, but a lot of mistakes in attack and shooting hurt Cantù, which turned the ball over a whopping 12 times in the first half. And while Anderson was essentially unstoppable in the first half, Siena’s other shooters were a deadly 7-of-10 shooting in quarter two.
Shaun Stonerook turned up the defense in the third and by the 24th minute, Siena had amassed a 53-37 lead, later to become a 73-51 advantage at the end of the quarter in front of a disappointed Cantù crowd.
Andersen took his sixth Italian MVP title for his efforts in the tournament, including a 23-point show in this game. Coach Simon Pianigiani is now 15-0 in finals appearances.
Finally, in a rematch of last season’s Semaine des As finals, Chalon-sur-Saône got revenge on Gravelines Dunkerque, taking its first French Cup title with a 73-66 victory. Former Loyal University swingman Blake Schlib was named MVP for his nice all-around performance of 13 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals in the final match. BiE can’t help but wonder, however, how the complexion of this tournament might have changed with a certain San Antonio Spur in the mix…