Forza Italia: Reyer Venezia eliminate Donar Groningen, book title clash with Sidigas Avellino
GRONINGEN (FIBA Europe Cup) - While the winner of the FIBA Europe Cup will not be known for another couple of weeks, one thing is certain – the trophy is heading to Italy.
💥🎊💥🎊 Finale! Finale! Finale! Dopo 37 anni l’Umana #Reyer #Venezia 🏀🇮🇹 torna a disputare una finalissima di una competizione europea maschile 🙌🙌🙌! Grazie ragazzi ❤️! #FIBAEuropeCup #final #LaStoriaContinua pic.twitter.com/OTKLnUALN5— Reyer Venezia (@REYER1872) April 19, 2018
Having won the first leg in Venice by 10 points, the Walter De Raffaele-coached side won the tie 162-155 on aggregate, though it proved to be a close call down the stretch.
Turning Point: A red-hot Brandyn Curry put Donar up by double figures at 73-63 with three consecutive triples, tying the aggregate score with 6:37 remaining. However, Reyer Venezia managed to keep their cool and stopped the bleeding. MarQuez Haynes provided the fatal blow to Donar's chances with a big three-pointer with a minute left to shrink a dangerous 8-point deficit to 77-72.
Game Hero: Michael Bramos missed the last two FIBA Europe Cup games for the Venetians and his return proved to be a big part of why they managed to hold on to the first-leg advantage. The swingman finished with a team-high 16 points and added 5 rebounds.
Stats Don't Lie: Donar Groningen left their soul on the court, fighting for every loose ball like it was the last one. The effort paid off, with the Dutch side out-rebounding Reyer Venezia 45-33 with a 12-3 advantage in offensive rebounds.
We are ready!!!! pic.twitter.com/TR9yBhXHtd— Donar (@Donar_Official) April 19, 2018
Bottom Line: This is the second time Reyer Venezia have made the Final of a European competition, finishing runners-up in the 1980-81 Korac Cup. They fell short at the Semi-Final hurdle in the Basketball Champions League last season.
They Said: "I want to congratulate Donar, because they played two great games, and their fans – the atmosphere was amazing inside the gym. It was a tough game, because Donar really increase their potential when they play at home. Our game plan was to be aggressive and not think about those 10 points and that worked until the fourth quarter. In the fourth quarter, Curry found a couple of big shots. We responded and came back with some similar big shots from MarQuez Haynes, Michael Bramos and Mitchell Watt and we controlled the game until the end. For us it's a great result to go to the Final. It's going to be an all-Italian Final, so it's our important for our country as well." – Umana Reyer Venezia head coach Walter De Raffaele
"It was a great atmosphere. And as a player, you always want to play in atmospheres like this. Winning the Semi-Finals to get to the Final, it's a big deal." – Umana Reyer Venezia guard MarQuez Haynes
"It was an exciting game. We kind of made a run there, at the end. I think we had a 10-point lead and they made a couple of big shots. We didn't have quite enough against a solid team like this. Maybe we gave them a little bit too much in Italy." – Donar Groningen forward Evan Bruinsma
"First, congratulations to the coaches and players of Venice on the good win in the tie. We were happy that we could end this tournament with a win. We went out against a great opponent, it's the best team we've faced this season in the FIBA Europe Cup. We wish them all the best and to win in the Final as well." – Donar Groningen coach Erik Braal