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11/02/2008
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ITA - Boniciolli finally celebrates in Italy as Avellino win Coppa

BOLOGNA (Coppa Italia) - Matteo Boniciolli had coached in finals before, but never had the 45-year-old coach of Air Avellino won a title.

That changed on Sunday when Avellino continued their dream season by beating Virtus Bologna 73-67 to lift the Coppa Italia.

Devin Smith buried six of eight shots from three-point range to lead the team in scoring, while Avellino got great contributions from a pair of former Italy internationals who played for Carlo Recalcati and won a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics, Alex Righetti and Nikola Radulovic.

Righetti had 13 points, Radulovic 14 and Americans Marques Green and Eric Williams each weighed in with 12.

The night was a happy occasion for all as this was Avellino's first title in club history.

And it was especially sweet for Boniciolli.

"I have been waiting for this day for 25 years," an emotional Boniciolli said.

"I have lost so many finals that for me winning a title had become a nightmare.

"The time had come to get a result and we did it in style by playing a great game.

"This is the biggest satisfaction in my career."

Boniciolli got hugs from everyone, but the biggest were from his family.

"I dedicate this award to my wife and kids who have always waited for me," he said.

Avellino had reached the final after beating Premiata Montegranaro and Angelico Biella, while Virtus advanced to the title game following wins over Lottomatica Roma and Scavolini Pesaro.

FIBA