ALBA wins in Andorra, reaches Finals
ALBA Berlin has made it to the 2019 7DAYS EuroCup Finals! ALBA reached the title series by downing Morabanc Andorra 81-87 in Game 2 of their best-of-three semi-final on the road on Friday. ALBA swept the series and will face Valencia Basket in the Finals in early April. Peyton Siva paced the winners with 21 points. Rokas Giedraitis added 14, Joshiko Siabou had 12 while Martin Hermannsson got 11 for ALBA. Andrew Albicy led Andorra with 20 points while Jerome Jordan added 17. Luke Sikma and Dennis Clifford shined early, and Saibou led a 1-13 run that put ALBA in charge before an incredible three-pointer by Siva gave the guests a 42-51 margin at halftime. A 12-0 run allowed Andorra to get the lead, 54-53, soon after the break. But Siva led a 0-10 run that gave ALBA the lead for good and a three-pointer by Sikma made it a 16-point game, 65-81. Albicy brought Andorra as close as 80-83 but back-to-back baskets by Giedraitis sealed ALBA's ticket to the Finals. ALBA became the first team to win in Andorra this season.
Sikma got ALBA going with a backdoor layup and fed Clifford for an easy basket, but David Jelinek and Dylan Ennis quickly gave Andorra a 7-4 lead. Reggie Upshaw took over with an off-balance basket but Giedraitis and Sikma tied it at 9-9. Siva answered to Albicy's triple with a jumper and Clifford scored again for a 12-13 ALBA lead. Sikma kept pacing the guests with a put-back layup, getting help from Niels Giffey and Saibou to boost the lead to 15-21. John Shurna and Jordan had 4 points apiece to bring Andorra a bit closer, 23-25, after 10 minutes. Hermannsson and Albicy traded three-pointers early in the second quarter, and Siva boosted ALBA's lead to 26-31. Jordan followed a dunk with a layup, and Michele Vitali added a circus shot to bring the hosts within 32-33. ALBA found a go-to guy in Saibou, who had the opening 6 points in a 1-13 run that Giffey capped with a fast break layup. Jordan, Upshaw and Albicy fueled a 7-0 run but a circus shot by Siva from way downtown restored a 42-51 ALBA margin at halftime. Jordan took over with a dunk, a three-point play and a layup to bring Andorra within 49-53 soon after the break. Jelinek added 5 quick points to put the hosts ahead, 54-53, after a 12-0 run. Hermannsson rescued ALBA with a three-point play and Siva added a bomb from beyond the arc in a 0-10 run that gave the guests fresh air at 54-63. Giedraitis hit a three-pointer in transition but Rafa Luz answered from downtown and Upshaw added a power layup to give Andorra hope at 60-66. Siva took over late in the third quarter to restore a double-digit ALBA margin, 62-73, after 30 minutes. Goffey scored down low early in the fourth quarter and back-to-back three-pointers by Siva and Sikma seemed to break the game open, 65-81. Ennis and Upshaw ignited Andorra's comeback and Albicy hit three triples to bring the hosts back to 80-83, with under 3 minutes left. Giedraitis took over with a put-back basket and a floater that sealed the outcome, 81-87, as Andorra never recovered.
Siva was everywhere for ALBA, beating the halftime and the third-quarter buzzer. He finished the game with 21 points on 4-of-8 three-point shots and 7-of-7 free throws. Siva added a rebound, 3 assists and 6 fouls drawn for a PIR of 15. His leadership and experience was important for ALBA to achieve this historical result.
A 12-0 run allowed Andorra to get its last lead of the game, 54-53. But then Hermannsoon and Siva fueled a 0-10 run put ALBA ahead for good, and ALBA soon boosted its margin to 65-81. The German team still needed Giedraitis's late heroics to make it to the Finals, but that wouldn't have been possible without the critical 11-28 partial score which stopped Andorra's best moment of the game.
Before this series, Andorra was 8-0 when scoring 80 points or more. But Andorra scored more than 80 points in both games against ALBA, and lost them both. Rebounds made the difference in Game 2: ALBA outrebounded Andorra by 34-41, getting 12 offensive rebounds. Its 29 defensive boards are one shy of its best mark this season - it had 30 against Arka Gdynia on October 23, 2018.
Did you notice?
ALBA has reached the EuroCup Finals for just the second time in club history. The German powerhouse previously reached the 2010 Championship Game, falling to a 44-67 loss against Valencia. The same two teams meet again, nine years later, as ALBA has the chance to become the first German team to win the EuroCup.
ALBA is set to face Valencia in Game 1 of the 2019 EuroCup Finals at Pabellon Fuente de San Luis on Tuesday, April 9. Andorra has finished its second season in the competition – but it will be remembered by fans for a long, long time.
Friday, March 22, 2019