Telekom Baskets Bonn celebrate their first Basketball Champions League title
MALAGA (Spain) - They have been in five German League Finals, they played the title game in the German Cup three times, and reached the Semi-Finals of FIBA Europe Cup once. After all that heartbreak, Telekom Baskets Bonn finally felt what it's like to in seventh heaven, lifting the Basketball Champions League silverware on a loud Sunday night in Malaga.
Bonn only trailed after the first possession of the game and rapidly took over and never looked back again, all the way to a 77-70 win in front of 10,437 fans at the Martin Carpena arena.
Turning point: It was supposed to be Jerusalem defense vs. Bonn offense, but it was the German side that had all the stops in the first half, opening a 16-point lead midway through the second quarter.
But with a deafening support from nearly five thousand of their fans, Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem found a way back into the game, cutting the deficit to a single point already with three minutes to go in the third quarter.
It was push and pull the rest of the way, but the final three minutes proved crucial. Bonn had their momentum killing three straight good defenses and went from +4 to +9 entering the final minute.
2023 Final Four MVP: TJ Shorts completed a perfect season in the BCL. The 25-year-old point guard was already voted the MVP of the Season, was selected to the Star Lineup First Team, and now added the Final Four MVP trophy to his amazing collection.
Shorts finished with new BCL records of 29 points in the Final, 50 points at the Final Four and six games with 25+ points, the most in a single BCL season by any player over the past seven years of competition. Shorts knocked down 10-of-17 field goals, including 3-of-3 from the three-point line.
He became the first player to combine the Final Four MVP award with the Season MVP award.
"These are the moments every basketball player lives for... I'm just grateful. This is something I'll remember for the rest of my life I promise you."#BasketballCL | #FinalFour | @TelekomBaskets pic.twitter.com/cwhhYySMJS— Basketball Champions League (@BasketballCL) May 14, 2023
Stats don't lie: Control. It's all about control. Telekom Baskets Bonn were under control the entire game, committing just six turnovers against the best defense of the BCL, while forcing 14 Jerusalem turnovers at the other end. They defeated Hapoel with Hapoel's best weapon.
Bottom line: Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem played a heroic season, but could not match Bonn's energy in the Final. Levi Randolph played his heart out with 27 points, but Mareks Mejeris with 12 was the only other player in double figures for coach Aleksandar Dzikic.
As for his colleague Tuomas Iisalo, history was made on Sunday. Bonn finally won their first ever trophy, and added a German flag to the list of the BCL winners. Germany is the fourth country with a BCL trophy, after Spain won the event four times, Greece once, Italy once.