Igokea shine brightest, defeat Tofas for first-ever YBCL title
BURSA (Turkey) - Igokea m:tel claimed the title of the inaugural Youth Basketball Champions League with the Bosnia and Herzegovina club fighting past hosts Tofas SC 73-66 for an undefeated run to the trophy.
Captain Dusan Makitan hoisted the YBCL cup to the heavens at the Tofas Nilüfer Spor Salonu in Bursa to send off celebrations in Turkey and back home in Laktasi. Makitan was also named Most Valuable Player of the tournament. He was joined on the All-Star Five by Igokea teammate Ognjen Radosic, Ozgur Cengiz of Tofas SC, Roe Averni of Hapoel Jerusalem and Ernestas Matulevic of BC Rytas.
Turning point: Igokea led by as many as 17 points late in the third quarter but watched as Tofas crept back into the game. The hosts had cut the deficit to 68-66 and Igokea's Aidin Becirovic was well short on his three-point attempt, but Vasilije Kuridza caught the miss and laid it in for a 70-66 lead with 66 seconds left. Tofas failed to convert the next two offenses and Igokea were victorious.
Makitan had a big start and put Igokea ahead 11-5 early on. That was the biggest the lead would get initially with Ozgur Cengiz pouring in 14 first quarter points to keep the hosts close and it was 21-21 after 10 minutes. Igokea began to take control in the second quarter with a 16-4 run to grab a 39-27 advantage, which was 39-29 at halftime. The advantage swelled to 17 points by midway through the third quarter before Tofas fought back into the game.
Game hero: Four Igokea players played at least 33 minutes and Ognjen Radosic led the team in scoring with 26 points. But special mention must go to Makitan, who collected 15 points, 17 rebounds and 6 blocks. Cengiz finished with 26 points and 9 assists in the loss for Tofas.
Stats don't lie: Igokea held Tofas to just 38.9 percent on 2-pointers and 18.2 percent from long range and managed an advantage on fast break points - 19 to 18 - even though Igokea committed 27 turnovers to just 12 for the hosts.
Bottom line: Igokea will go down in history as the first winners of the Youth Basketball Champions League. They played their first two games without two of their best players - Ognjen Radosic and Ognjen Stankovic - and still managed to mount an undefeated run to history.
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Third place in the inaugural Youth Basketball Champions League went to BC Rytas after wasting a 14-point lead but prevailing 78-73 over Hapoel Jerusalem. Rytas led 35-21 in the second quarter but watched Jerusalem come back and pull ahead 61-60. But the Lithuanian side reclaimed the lead and never gave it back up.
Ernestas Matulevic flirted with a triple-double with 25 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists for Rytas. Dziugas Remeikis added 14 points and Paulius Narvilas had 11 points. Rom Hitkes and Yair Yadin both scored 18 points in the loss.
Lenovo Tenerife rolled to 74-62 victory over Porsche BBA Ludwigsburg to collect 5th place. The Spanish side led by 15 points after 10 minutes and never looked back. Mohamed Sangare paced Tenerife with 17 poitns and 8 rebounds and Louis Riga and Daniel Rodriguez added 12 points. Lukas Modic led Ludwigsburg with 13 points.
Oostende CORETEC Basketball Academy snatched 7th place as they rallied to beat UCAM Murcia COC Oftalmologia 78-71 overtime. Oostende trailed by 12 points with 6 minutes left in regulation and scored the final 10 points, including Jarne Elouna's two free throws with 5.4 seconds left to force overtime. Elouna finished with 22 points and Bram ter Weeme had 14 points for the winners. Fabian Flores scored 19 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in the loss.
1. Igokea m:tel
2. Tofas SC
3. BC Rytas
4. Hapoel Jerusalem
5. Lenovo Tenerife
6. Porsche BBA Ludwigsburg
7. Oostende CORETEC Basketball Academy
8. UCAM Murcia COC Oftalmologia
9. Bnei Herzliya
10. Basketball Academy Nymburk