Joan Sastre turns to hero, sends Tenerife through with 8pts in last 90 seconds
SAN CRISTOBAL DE LA LAGUNA (Spain) - Game 3 provided another instant classic in the Lenovo Tenerife v Pinar Karsiyaka rivalry. The 2017 champions eliminated the 2021 runners-up, thanks to Joan Sastre's heroics over the last 1:30 of the Play-In series.
Tenerife escaped with a narrow 74-71 win, booking another trip to the Round of 16 with a 2-1 series win over the Turkish squad.
Turning point: That moment over the summer when coach Txus Vidorreta brought in Joan Sastre. A proven winner and a Spanish national team member, the forward had a slow start to his BCL campaign by scoring just 20 points total over his first seven games in the competition.
But with the game tied at 66-all and 90 seconds left in the series, Sastre finally showed up for Tenerife. A three-pointer from the right corner, followed by one from the left, and a perfect backdoor cut on a Marcelinho Huertas dime gave him 8 straight points, opening a 74-68 lead.
Amath M'Baye cut it in half with a three-pointer, and Karsiyaka fouled Aaron Doornekamp. But even after the Canadian forward missed both free throws, he was there to grab the offensive rebound and Tenerife let the time expire, surviving three close encounters with Karsiyaka to reach the Round of 16.
Game hero: Joan Sastre finished with a team-high 15 points, done on 6-of-7 shooting. Honorable mentions go to Huertas for his 11 assists, which is the ninth time he had 10 or more assists, the most in BCL history, Giorgi Shermadini for 10 points, 9 rebounds and a +18 with him on the floor, and Dejan Todorovic who had 11 points, after scoring just one all season long.
Stats don't lie: In a tough and exhausting series as this one, it came down to who had a deeper bench. Tenerife won the bench points 44-7, with Sastre, Todorovic and Kyle Wiltjer (11pts) all getting to double digits after not starting the game.
Bottom line: On the same night, both the defending champions Hereda San Pablo Burgos and the runners-up Pinar Karsiyaka were eliminated. Meanwhile, Lenovo Tenerife will join Group L, with Falco Szombathely, Rytas Vilnius and SIG Strasbourg.
"We felt like we had our chance, but it just didn't go our way in the end. A couple of stops... and it went their way. I think it was just some things we talked about, coach told us a great game plan, we fought our way back and we couldn't capitalize on their mistakes that they made." - James Blackmon, Pinar Karsiyaka
"It was a tough game, we had a tough schedule this week. In the beginning part, especially in the first period, we were not good, we made too many mistakes in the offensive parts of the game. Second half, we were good, and we were together on the court, we showed character. We came back, but not enough to win. I thought we deserved it, but last two minutes, our decisions were not good, so I congratulate Tenerife." - Pinar Karsiyaka head coach Ufuk Sarica
"We started really good, playing as one, playing tough, playing good defense, controlling the rebounds, which were the keys, to not let them play how they want. We made them feel uncomfortable. They couldn't play good basketball like they usually do. But in the second half they started to attack more on the rebounds, to hit more important shots. It was a close game, but for those little details we won the game and we're very happy to be in the next round of the (Basketball) Champions League." - Joan Sastre, Lenovo Tenerife
"We made a very good job in defense, especially in the first quarter, but also in the key moments of the last quarter. We had production in these key moments from different players, especially Joan Sastre, who helped us to win the game, I'm very happy for this." - Lenovo Tenerife head coach Txus Vidorreta