Unicaja Malaga used a huge second quarter to ease past Spars Sarajevo 82-67 and reach the final of the ADIDAS NEXT GENERATION TOURNAMENT in Rome by winning Group B. Carlos Corts collected 10 of his team-high 19 points in the decisive 23-1 run in the second quarter to pave the way to a perfect 3-0 record in the group - and a date in the final against host team Stellazzurra Basketball Academy Rome, which won Group A with a perfect 3-0 record. Corts also had eight rebounds and six assists while Viny Okouo picked up 17 points, eight rebounds, three assists, two steals and three blocks, Romaric Belemene-Dzabatou scored 13 points and Rares Uta added 11 points in the win. Unicaja will be playing in its fourth qualifying tournament final since 2009 and hopes to reach the ANGT Finals at the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four for the first time. Malaga lost to Lietuvos Rytas in the L’Hospitalet final in 2009, dropped to Cajasol Seville in the L’Hospitalet final in 2010 and fell to Real Madrid in the L’Hospitalet final in 2014. Stellazzurra lost in the Rome final last winter to Cajasol and also hope to reach its first ANGT Finals. Spars, which won the Rome tournament in 2012, finished second in Group B with a 2-1 record. Edin Atic and Fahrudin Manjgafic both scored 15 points in the loss while Emir Ahmedic had 14 points and Emir Gagic collected 12 points, five rebounds, seven assists and three steals in the loss.
Spars was up early 2-3 before Malaga scored six straight points to go ahead 8-3. Atic nailed a three-ball to push Sarajevo ahead 15-16 only to see Victor Aguilar hit right back with a triple. But Manjgafic scored in the last second to give Spars the lead 20-22 after one quarter. Manjgafic and Atic combined to push the advantage to 22-27. But then Unicaja shut down Spars totally, allowing just one Atic free throw over the final 7:24 minutes of the first half and using a 23-1 run to pull away 45-28 at the break with Corts scoring 10 points in the big spurt.
That run essentially decided the game as Corts hit a three-pointer to increase the gap to 51-30. Gegic and Ahmedic both nailed three-balls to trim the deficit to 51-40. But Jorge Turbica and Belemene responded to lead a 9-0 run to make it 60-40. Atic did drain a long ball and Manjgafic scored at the third quarter buzzer to trim the margin to 64-51 after 30 minutes. Spars scored the first point of the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 12 points and Gegic scored five straight points to make it a 71-60 game with six minutes to play. But Spars came up empty on five straight possessions, allowing for Unicaja to reel off a 7-0 run to make it 78-60 with less than four minutes to play and the game was over.
Sunday, December 28, 2014