Gran Canaria 78 – Union Olimpija 64
The opening game of the tournament saw a fairly even matched first quarter. Olimpija
was able to open the lead to 9 points by halftime thanks in large to their good
execution. The second half of the game was a complete turnaround, as Olimpija
could not by a basket and Gran Canaria caught fire, outscoring the Slovenians
Alvarado Oscar led all scorers with 21 points and also added 5 assists. The crafty
point guard plays with a lot of poise and confidence, and he was able to show
his ability to by getting into the lane and either finishing or setting up teammates.
His is somewhat undersized and lacks explosiveness and a smooth jumpshot, but
he understands the game and is very difficult to match-up with. The 1993 big man
Konate Bakary is an extremely raw prospect who has a long way to go, but he finished
the game with 10 points, 15 rebounds and 2 blocks. Right now he is too long for
his own good, and his movements are awkward because he has not grown into his
lanky body, but he has a decent looking stroke and his youth gives him a nice
plenty of time to develop.
For Olimpija, Center Nejc Buda had a nice game, with 15 points and 9 rebounds
before fouling out. One of the most high profile players in this tournament is
Mirza Sarajlija, but he struggled all game and finished with just 6 points on
2 for 7 shooting. He played off the ball the entire game, but could not find his
rhythm and seemed to force the issue to much at times. In the time he has gotten
with the senior squad he played the lead guard and showed many good things, but
today was just not his day.
Lietuvos Rytas 74 – KK Hemofarm 71
A back and forth battle for the entire game, Hemofarm looked
like they were about to win the game thanks to a 17-9 3rd quarter, but Lietuvos
Rytas, even upon losing their best player, continued to battle and outscored Hemofarm
27-17 in the final period to win the game.
Even though he only played 19 minutes because of foul trouble, Jonas
Valanciunas showed that he might be the most promising player this week, finishing
with 8 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 5 blocks. The 1992 born Lithuanian is
listed at 6’11, he has an extremely long wingspan and huge hands to go along with
a nice motor and good coordination. He is not a crazy athlete, but his length
allows him to finish around the rim and it also gives him an opportunity to be
a serious threat as a shotblocker. His shooting form on free throws looks decent
(even though he finished 0-3) and he showed some moves facing up to as well with
his back to the basket. It is obvious he has work to do with his body, and he
needs to continue developing his low post game, but with his length, hands and
mobility at such a young age, he definitely has a bright future ahead of him.
Osvaldas Matulionis was the only player in double figures for the winners, finishing
with 16 points.
For the losers, Milan Vulic was best with 13 points, while Danilo Andusic had
12 points, to go along with 5 rebounds.
Unicaja 83 – Motepaschi Siena 71
Starting out hot from the get-go, (other than a 3rd quarter surge) Unicaja was
pretty much in the driver’s seat for the entire match. They have a deep team and
are also very balanced which allows them to attack constantly without having to
worry about fatigue. They had 3 quarters in which they scored over 20 points,
and that firepower was too much for Montepaschi Siena to handle.
Augost Lima, a 6-8 power forward from Brazil had a solid game finishing with 16
points and 10 rebounds. He has a nice looking body and a decent shooting stroke,
but his overall skillset needs a lot of work. He enjoys the physical aspect of
the game, but he did show many moves once he caught the ball. At this point he
is a scramble kind of player who is most effective when he is active around the
basket as it allows him to get easy buckets. If he is expected to create his own
offense, that is when he struggles. Jose Pozas led all scorers with 17 points
while Malick Fall, a 1992 bigman from Senegal contributed a huge double double,
with 15 points and 15 rebounds,
On the losing side, Antonio Iannuzzi had 15 points and 11 rebounds, while Nunzio
Sabbatino chipped in 15 points.
FMP 62 – Alba Berlin 61
One of the favorites to win this tournament, FMP definitely did not play like
it. They struggled executing and shooting the ball the entire game. Fortunately
their opponent did not take advantage and FMP was able to sneak by with a 1 point
victory. It was an overall poorly played game from both sides, high in fouls and
turnovers and low in assists and points. Even though they were not at the top
of their game today, FMP still showed that their depth and skill will carry them
a long way in this tournament.
Dejan Musli was best for FMP enroute to 22 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks. He
was simply too big for Berlin, so when he caught the ball around the basket there
was not much that can be done. His body has improved over the last year and he
shows a nice touch, but his mobility and explosiveness are still very big question
marks. He needs to incorporate more moves in the post, as his left shoulder hook
has become predictable and may not be as effective against bigger defenders.
Aleksandar Ponjevic and Branislav Dekic were both crucial for the winners, going
for 11 points, 3 rebounds and 9 points 6 rebounds respectively.
For Alba, Malte Ziegenhagen was on fire from deep, going 4 for 6 and finishing
with 18 points. Nile Giffey had a nice game with 12 points and 8 rebounds, while
Konstantin Klein and Dawit Villarzu both also chipped in 12 points.