01 September, 2016
30 April, 2017
Javier Beiran Tenerife
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Weekend round-up: Tenerife triumph in Canary Islands derby

(BASKETBALL CHAMPIONS LEAGUE) – The fans of Basketball Champions League contenders Iberostar Tenerife could not have asked for a better start to the new Spanish Liga Endesa season than the 92-81 triumph at neighbours Herbalife Gran Canaria on Sunday night in front of an almost 9,000-strong crowd.

Despite an unfavourable tradition in their last six visits to Gran Canaria arena and the fact they were playing without injured point guard Nicolas Richotti, Tenerife made their intentions knows right from tip-off and led for most of the first half.

Coach Txus Vidorreta’s men went into the interval holding a slim 36-35 cushion over the recently crowned Spanish Supercopa champions but Gran Canaria claimed the lead 47-45 shortly after the start of the third stanza. Tenerife however reacted promptly and sharp-shooter Javier Beiran knocked down three triples in quick succession to lift the visitors to a 64-57 lead.

A late surge by the hosts reduced the gap to 74-72 but the almost flawless on the night Beiran scored on back-to-back possessions and Tenerife pulled away in the final stretch to celebrate the win. Beiran finished with 21 points on 6-for-8 from downtown while veteran center Fran Vazquez poured in 19 points in just 18 minutes and Greek international Giorgos Bogris chipped in with 12 points and five boards.

Two of the four Italian teams that will participate in the inaugural edition of the Basketball Champions League, Sidigas Avellino and Reyer Venezia, also played their opening domestic league games on Sunday night and emerged victorious. The Serie A campaign of Dinamo Sassari and Varese gets under way on Monday night, when the Sardinian team plays host to the Lombardy side.

Avellino led by double-digits and turned back a late fightback by Manital Torino to clinch an 86-83 win at home. Levi Randolph paved the way with 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the floor and six rebounds, while Joe Ragland added 16 points. Meanwhile Venezia overcame a slow start to out-score Red October Cantú 99-92 on the road, behind a break-out display by young Italian guard Stefano Tonut who finished with 26 points on 4-of-5 from three-point range.

Partizan Belgrade were the big winners of a gripping clash with fellow BCL participants KK Mornar on the opening day of the ABA League. The Serbian powerhouse prevailed 58-57 in Montenegro thanks in great part to 11 points from William Hatcher and a well-rounded contribution by Vanja Marinkovic, who had nine points, seven boards, two assists, one steal and one block. Lamont Jones had 14 points and three assists for Mornar in a losing effort.

Also in the ABA League, Cibona Zagreb started strong and held on for a 71-61 win at Igokea on the back of an 18-point, 9-board contribution by Croatian international Zeljko Saic and a 17-point, 7-rebound showing by rising star center Ante Zizic. Meanwhile two Serbian young talents, guards Rade Zagorac and Ognjen Jaramaz poured in 18 points apiece to help Mega Leks overturn a 12-point half-time deficit and edge out Olimpija Ljubljana 86-85 at home.

Israeli champions Maccabi Rand Media Rishon, who will compete in Group B of the Basketball Champions League, played their first official game this weekend albeit their league title defence commences next week. Maccabi fell 93-81 to Hapoel Jerusalem in the semi-final of the Winner Cup (Israeli supercup) despite 18 points from Javon McCrea and failed to reach the title game. Hapoel defeated Maccabi Tel Aviv in the final and lifted the trophy.