Nicolas De Jong named MVP of the Week
PAU (France) - Nicolas De Jong of Elan Béarnais Pau-Lacq-Orthez has been named Gameday 4 MVP and will likely never forget this week, even if he goes on to score 35 points in every game for the rest of his career.
It was a great moment and I appreciate a lot the respect [Burgos fans] showed towards me and towards our team - Nicolas De Jong
That's because the big man's amazing scoring display and the fact he lifted his team to their first success in this edition of the Basketball Champions League, a come-from-behind 82-78 win at San Pablo Burgos, were not De Jong's only memorable achievements on Tuesday night.
A few seconds before the final buzzer, the Pau-Lacq-Orthez center exited the Coliseum court in Burgos and received a standing ovation from a 10,000-strong crowd who had been hoping he missed every single of those shots he made en route to his 35 points.
Not many athletes, in any sport, have ever received a standing ovation from the fans of a team they have just executed.
"It was a very nice feeling," De Jong said. "I had played in Burgos two years ago, as a Zaragoza player [in the 2017-18 season] and I knew to expect a big crowd of 10,000 people, I knew these fans as some of the best in Spain.
Exploit d'un Elan renversant au Coliseum de Burgos 💪— Elan Béarnais (@EBPLO) November 5, 2019
Menés de 14 longueurs à la pause, les Béarnais signent leur premier succès en @BasketballCL cette saison 👏@NicodeJong14 est le M✌️P du match avec 35 pts (13/17) et 30 d'éval #ELANation #BasketballCL pic.twitter.com/AKMDOUTUoM
"It was a great moment for me and I appreciate a lot the respect they showed towards me and towards our team, because they recognized that we played with a big heart in the second half."
After the first half, Pau-Lacq-Orthez were trailing Burgos 43-29. De Jong had scored his first 13 points and he recalls that his confidence started to build up gradually in the second half as his team were reducing the gap with their hosts.
I am proud to be named MVP but the most important thing is that we got the win - Nicolas De Jong
"We came back thanks to our defense and, to be honest, when we cut the deficit to five or six points the momentum changed," he said.
"We felt that we were just so much better defensively, we felt stronger mentally.
"I got lucky that my team-mates found me [in good spots] and the shots were no longer so difficult. We were just executing better, making plays."
De Jong's 35 points are the most any player has scored in a game so far in this BCL season, but also the most any player has ever scored in less than 30 minutes of play in the competition.
The French-Dutch big man played 27 minutes and 9 seconds on Tuesday and he shot 13 of 17 from the field, including 3 of 6 from beyond the arc, while he also added 4 rebounds and 1 block to register and efficiency rating of 30.
"I am proud to be named MVP but the most important thing is that we got the win," De Jong said.
"Two weeks ago I had 31 points in the French league but we lost in double overtime [114-110 to Boulogne-Levallois at home], and it's not the same feeling at all.
"Of course it's always nice to have a great night, but it doesn't mean the same if you don't get the victory.
"I hope more wins will come our way now, and I hope of course that I will have some more big-scoring games."