Holon or Ludwigsburg to win the 3rd place?

Sunday night we will learn the name of the 2021-2022 Basketball Champions League winner as the Bilbao Arena will host an all Spanish final between Baxi Manresa and Lenovo Tenerife. However, before the big final, there will be another game played in Basque city, the one that will determine the third-placed team in the Final Four. In (less) than 48 hours after losing in the semifinals, Hapoel U-Net Holon and MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg will have to find the motivation to compete and win. It will be mostly a symbolic achievement for the winner of this game, besides a slightly higher prize in money.

Hapoel Holon led only once in the semifinal against Tenerife, but it was with less than 4 minutes to play in the game when Rafael Menco hit a three-point shot (69-68). Unfortunately for the purple and gold team, Tenerife didn’t lose its composure and finished the game with a 10-2 run to win 78-71. Despite the result, the players of Holon earned again the respect of their passionate fans, who travelled in big numbers to Spain.

Ludwigsburg also fought well in the semifinals but came up short against Manresa in a low scoring encounter (55-63). The German side coached by John Patrick once again showed that they are a very good defensive team, forcing Manresa to commit 18 turnovers. However, Ludwigsburg was outrebounded 42 to 55 and had fewer assists too (7-12).

While In the Final there are no questions about motivation and high energy, in the 3rd place games many times teams are demotivated after the disappointment of losing in the semifinals and coaches often give more minutes to players that played less throughout the season. The presence of their fanatic fans should give enough motivation for Holon and could be an advantage for them. On the other side, Ludwigsburg already lost once a game for the 3rd place against Murcia in 2018 Final Four, so the fact that they can tie their own achievement from 4 years ago could be the motivating factor.

Imre Halasz

Image credit: Basketball Champions League