Kataja, Mornar, Utena and Varese clinch Regular Season spots
(Basketball Champions League) – The exciting prospect of taking part in the inaugural edition of the Basketball Champions League became on Thursday night a reality for Kataja Basket, KK Mornar Bar, Juventus Utena and Pallacanestro Varese, the four teams that emerged triumphant from the first four match-ups in Qualification Round 2.
BC Tartu, CSM Oradea, Tsmoki Minsk and U-BT Cluj-Napoca are the teams that advanced on Thursday to Qualification Round 2 and will face Bakken Bears, Lukoil Academic, Ironi Nahariya and Usak Sportif, respectively in the two-leg ties that will determine the remaining four tickets.
Kataja Basket were carrying from the first leg in Finland a huge 39-point advantage over Södertälje Kings and advanced in spite of losing 66-59 at the home of the Swedish champions into Thursday’s second leg. The Finns will now compete in Group B of the Regular Season, which also includes Avtodor Saratov, Umana Reyer Venezia, Maccabi Rand Media, Khimik, Pinar Karsiyaka, Le Mans as well as the winner of the Qualification Round 2 tie between Lukoil Academic and CSM Oradea that takes place next week.
KK Mornar Bar came into Thursday’s second leg with the mission to overturn a two-point deficit against Igokea and achieved in impressive fashion as they raced to an 83-60 win at home. The Montenegrin club will take part in Group D of the Basketball Champions League, just like Juventus Utena. The Lithuanian side held a narrow two-point advantage over FC Porto from the first leg in Portugal and sealed their passage with a convincing 77-59 win at home on Thursday.
Varese meanwhile played with fire on Thursday but emerged unscathed, as they suffered a 72-70 loss to SL Benfica at home but advanced by a single-point aggregate win, courtesy of their three-point win in Portugal. The Italian side will compete in Group C and will face PAOK, EWE Oldenburg, Neptunas Klaipeda, ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne, Rosa Radom, Ventspils and the team that will emerge from the Qualification Round 2 match-up between Usak Sportif and U-BT Cluj-Napoca.