Real, Mega, Barcelona still perfect, Zvezda stays alive with win
Former champions U18 Real Madrid and U18 FC Barcelona as well as two-time runner-up U18 Mega SoccerBet Belgrade all remained perfect after two days of the 2021 Euroleague Basketball Adidas Next Generation Tournament Finals while U18 Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade kept its dreams of a second title alive with its first win in Valencia. All told, there are five teams still hoping to hoist the trophy on Sunday, including debutant U18 LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne, which gained a fair share of fans and respect for a valiant fight in a Day 2 loss.
Eli Ndiaye knocked down 2 free throws with 3.6 seconds left to give the 2015 and 2019 continental champion Real a 2-0 record in Group A with an 80-82 win over ASVEL. Ndiaye finished with 30 points, 15 rebounds and 10 fouls drawn for an index rating of 45 while Juan Nunez picked up 10 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists and 5 steals but missed 4 free throws in the final 45 seconds. Debuting with one of the youngest teams in Valencia, ASVEL could have reached the ANGT Championship Game with an upset victory but came up just short and will now hope for a three-way tie after Day 3’s games. Zvezda, the 2014 continental champion, bounced back from its opening-day loss to ASVEL by claiming a thrilling 65-63 victory over U18 Zalgiris Kaunas. Zvezda wasted a 16-point lead and needed to come back from 5 points down with 2 minutes remaining as Ognjen Matovic scored twice in the final 45 seconds for the Group A win to move to 1-1. Nikola Topic led Zvezda with 16 points.
While three teams can still make the ANGT Championship Game from Group A, Group B’s representative in the title bout will come down to Mega or Barcelona after both teams cruised to blowout Day 2 wins. Mega mounted a resounding 104-70 victory over U18 Stellazzurra Rome, taking control of the game with a 28-8 run spanning the first and second quarters to move to 2-0. Nikola Djurisic just missed a triple-double with 21 points, 11 rebounds and 9 assists to lead Mega, which reached the ANGT Championship Game in 2017 and 2019. Nikola Jovic collected 20 points, 6 rebounds and 10 assists. Barcelona never had any problem against host side U18 Valencia Basket with a 48-109 win to improve to 2-0. The 2016 continental champion wasted no time as it had a 5-19 run in the first quarter to blow the game wide open. Michael Caicedo paced six Barcelona players in double figures with 20 points.