Manresa set up date with Tenerife for all-Spanish Final
BILBAO (Spain) - BAXI Manresa have advanced to the Basketball Champions League Final after getting by MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg 63-55 in the second Semi-Final to set up a Spanish derby with Lenovo Tenerife.
Manresa have now won all nine games in which they were leading at the end of the first 10 minutes in the BCL this season, while Ludwigsburg have lost 20 of their last 21 BCL games where they were trailing at the end of the third quarter.
Turning point: There wasn't much separation between the two teams in the first half, as both teams led by as many as five points and the score was all tied up at 35 after the first 20 minutes of play. This was the first time that a BCL Semi-Final game was tied at the half.
Manresa were able to outscore Ludwigsburg 20-14 in the third quarter to grab a 55-49 lead heading to the last quarter. Manresa weathered the storm and grinded the rest of the game out in what was a very low-scoring fourth quarter (8-6 in favor of Manresa).
Game heroes: Chima Moneke recorded a double-double with 13 points, 13 rebounds and 2 steals. This is his second double-double in his last three games in the BCL.
Moneke's 13 rebounds were the most by a player in a BCL Semi-Final.
Manresa big men Yankuba Sima and Ismael Bako combined for 25 points, and each threw down thunderous dunks.
Stats don't lie: Manresa outscored Ludwigsburg in points from the bench (26-16), points in the paint (34-26) and second chance points (17-9).
Manresa grabbed 55 rebounds, their most in a BCL game. This is also the first time that a team grabbed 50+ rebounds in a BCL Semi-Final.
Ludwigsburg only dished out 7 assists tonight, their second fewest in a BCL game.
Bottom line: Justin Simon led Ludwigsburg with 18 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists, with 12 of his points coming in the first half. Simon has scored 10+ points in 14 of his 16 BCL games.
Manresa have reached their first BCL championship and will face Spanish rival Lenovo Tenerife on Sunday, May 8 at 20:00 CET.
Ludwigsburg will play in the Third-Place game against Hapoel U-NET Holon on Sunday, May 8 at 17:00 CET.
They said: "I thought we fought hard early, competed real hard," said Simon. "I think in that second half, we kind of lost our identity. Those guys [Manresa] got a little comfortable and we didn't have the same type of grit that we normally have throughout this Champions League. ... Give credit to them, they're a great team. We just didn't execute."
"You can't win a game if you give up 8 points on offensive rebounds on free throws," said Ludwigsburg head coach John Patrick. "Compliment to their centers. Their centers played a very good game. I think maybe our lack of experience showed today, but I'm very proud of how hard we fought. We missed a lot of open shots, and we looked a little cramped. Each time I thought we were going to pull away, somebody would hit a big shot, or they'd get another offensive rebound."
"It was a high-intensity game," said Yankuba Sima. "We know they're very physical and we couldn't get in our rhythm because they press a lot, but we had to stay focused for 40 minutes. We made really key plays at the end and a lot of stops and I think that's what got us the win."
"Very tough game for both teams. I think especially in the last quarter, both teams survived with not too much energy because both teams did a good job on defense," said Manresa head coach Pedro Martinez. "Last quarter, the only mentality was try to be not going down. Very happy for the win and now to rest and wait for the Sunday game."