In the second semifinal of “League of the 4” tournament, the host team U-Banca Transilvania Cluj-Napoca met the Euroleague powerhouse, Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul. It was a very intense and tied game from the first quarter until the end for the delight of the crowds who came to see their favorites in U-BT Arena.
Even if Fenerbahce didn’t come with their whole roster, due to their World Cup participation, they had a strong line-up, including Derrick Williams, Leo Westermann, Ali Muhammed, Nikola Kalinic. In the absence of Jan Vesely, Fenerbahce introduced in their roster the Serbian center Vladimir Stimac, who is training with the Turkish team, after having an extraordinary season with Turk Telekom.
After 3 quarters from the game, the score was almost tied 53-50 for Fenerbahce but nobody would have expected such a thriller in the last minute of the encounter. Fenerbahce eventually won with 67-66 and the Romanians had the last possession of the game with a couple of seconds left, to try to close the deal.
This narrow win is showing the great transfers made by U-Banca Transilvania, who has strengthened a lot compared with the last seasons. Darko Planinic, Donatas Tarolis, Patrick Richard, Karlo Zganec, Artis Ate, and Kerron Johnson are now their core of experienced players. As this game against Fenerbahce, U-Banca Transilvania showed a very strong and physical roster, who can defend very well and, as well, boost the offensive side of the game. Next month, the Romanian club will face Rahoveci in the qualifiers for the Fiba Europe Cup group stage, where they have a big chance to make history this season. I see them between the title contenders for this European competition, together with Pinar Karsiaka, Bahcesehir and Enisey Krasnoyarsk.
Today, in the derby for the 3rd place, U-Banca Transilvania will try to overcome Mornar Bar, giving the fans the first taste of victory at home in the preseason.