From 0-3 to home court advantage: Jerusalem hand Manresa first loss in OT drama
MANRESA (Spain) - The last game of the Regular Season was postponed until January 6, but it was worth waiting for. BAXI Manresa and Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem played an amazing game, Israeli team winning it 90-85 in overtime.
Their win means they erased their horrid start to the season. Hapoel started the campaign with three straight defeats, but a coaching change saw them rise to new heights under coach Yotam Halperin. They made it safely through to the next round, and will have home court advantage in the Play-In series.
Turning point: It was a closely contested game, with no teams able to open up double digit leads. It came down to final minute in the fourth quarter, where Sylvain Francisco knocked down a game-tying three-pointer to send the game to overtime.
Both teams could've won the game in regulation time. But Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem turned it over on their final possession, while Luke Maye's three-pointer with two seconds left on the game clock did not drop for Manresa.
It seemed the hosts had the upper hand in overtime, opening up an 82-80 lead, but Jerusalem's response was rock solid. Retin Obasohan picked a perfect timing for his only triple of the day, Suleiman Braimoh found a two-pointer and once Adam Ariel knocked down a three-pointer, the score said +6 Jerusalem with a minute to play.
More than enough for a comfy finish after 45 minutes of battle.
Game heroes: Suleiman Braimoh had 23 points with 6 rebounds and was +13 in his 36 minutes of action, Adam Ariel knocked down four of Hapoel's seven three-pointers en route to 15 points, and Jalen Adams had 15 with 8 rebounds.
But it was a colossal effort from Retin Obasohan that steered the ship in right direction. The guard was pressured by Manresa's guards for 41 minutes, struggled with his shot, fatigue and turnovers, but still had a mighty stat line with 19 points, 12 assists and 5 steals.
Yalla Hapoel.— Retin Obasohan (@Oballsohard) January 6, 2022
Coach Halperin only used eight players, Sean Kilpatrick tested positive, while newcomer youngster Noam Dovrat can only play from the next phase.
Stats don't lie: With Jerusalem undersized, and Manresa having men like Ismael Bako, Chima Moneke and Yankuba Sima, one would expect the hosts to dominate inside. One would be wrong. Jerusalem won the paint points 46-32, won the blocks 4-2, won the rebounds 42-37.
Bottom line: Manresa did not finish the Regular Season with a perfect record, but even at 5-1, they were easily the most impressive team of the first phase of competition. Jerusalem will now have home court advantage against Prometey, and their win had greater implications for the rest of the BCL.
With Israelis taking second place, Pinar Karsiyaka dropped to third, meaning we get to witness two contenders matched up in the Play-In series, as Lenovo Tenerife own home court advantage against Pinar Karsiyaka.
"It was a battle, more than anything. Two teams that were playing for bragging rights, for things that have a lot to do with the season going forward. I'm really proud of everybody from top to bottom of our organization, because this is a huge win for us, especially with the way we started the (Basketball) Champions League, so we're really proud and excited to keep going." - Retin Obasohan, Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem
"First of all, I'm proud of the players, because I think it was a game against one of the best teams in the (Basketball) Champions League. I remember always playing against (Pedro Martinez), and I admire him in some way. I'm proud of them because of the fact we weren't in full roster, and we still came in here and won the game just because they fought all day. It was important for us, but we need to remember we are still on our way to Play-In. We just got the home court advantage." - Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem head coach Yotam Halperin
"We gave the victory to them. The way we played since the first quarter just wasn't us, after that we played our rhythm, but we didn't play as we should in our BAXI Manresa identity. We just gave the game. When I had the steal (at the end of the fourth), I should've had a layup, but it is what it is." - Sylvain Francisco, BAXI Manresa
"We lost. Have to think about the next game." - BAXI Manresa head coach Pedro Martinez