Palacio de Deportes Jose Maria Martin Carpena will be the host of the match Unicaja Malaga-Lenovo Tenerife as many people expected, but the match is not played in the final, it is the match for 3rd place both suffering 2 painful defeats in the semi-finals.
The dream of the hosts from Unicaja Malaga to win the trophy was shattered in a semi-final where they were surprised by the defensive energy of those from Bonn, the second quarter was a nightmare losing it 19-9. A pursuit race followed, but at 67-69 with the last attack available, they chose the uninspired version of the 3-point shot by Kendrick Perry, who had 3/11 from the action. Not only he had disastrous percentages, but Osetkowski 2/9 and Kalinoski 1/7 were also victims of the Germans’ defense. The best scorers were Ejim, Brizuela and Perry each with 12 points.
The other Spanish team present in the Final 4, Lenovo Tenerife, had made plans with a back-to-back title, but Hapoel Jerusalem created a wall between the Spaniards and the trophy. It’s hard to win a match when you score 12 points in two consecutive quarters and lose them by 7 and 6 points, respectively. But after 3 quarters of struggling to give value to his colleagues, Marcelinho Huertas took the match on his own and managed to recover a gap of 10 points, sometimes helped by Shermadini. Although they had the last attack at 68-69, the scheme on Huertas was perfectly guessed by Hapoel’s defense and Fitipaldo ended up throwing from the 3-point line in desperation on the siren. Huertas 20 points, 9/12 from actions and Shermadini 18 points, 7/11 from action were the only ones who were at the level of the opponents.
This duel for 3rd place was also the duel in the cup final in February, then Unicaja won 83-80 thanks to Carter’s 17 points and Kalinoski’s 14 points, and 9 rebounds. For Tenerife, Huertas had 21 points, 10 assists and Shermadini 20 points, and 9 rebounds tried to do everything possible to win the trophy. Whoever wins is too little for the ambitions with which they came here, the audience for the extraordinary atmosphere they created in the semifinals deserves a victory for the hosts.
Photo credit: Malaga Hoy