19 September, 2017
02 May, 2018
9 David Vojvoda | Photo: Janos Bugany
to read

Domestic roundup: Szolnok back to the Finals; Cluj eliminated; Kapfenberg down against Gmunden

MUNICH (FIBA Europe Cup) - The David Vojvoda-led Szolnoki Olaj demonstrated they are the team to beat in Hungary this year, by taking the quickest possible route to the Finals, where they will be joined by either Falco Vulcano or Alba Fehervar.

We also take a look at the domestic action in Romania and Austria, checking in with U-BT Cluj-Napoca and ece Kapfenberg Bulls.

Szolnoki Olaj waiting for Finals opponent in Hungary

The Hungarian championship Regular Season winners Szolnoki Olaj punched their ticket to the Finals after a one-year break, continuing their undefeated Play-Offs run with a 3-0 sweep against Egis Kormend in the Semi-Finals.

#gameday #olajmte 🔴⚫

A post shared by Szolnoki Olaj KK 🔴⚫️ (@szolnokiolajofficial) on

They closed out the series with a 102-59 blowout on their home floor behind a 20-point game from David Vojvoda, who helped Szolnok secure their seventh Finals appearance in the last eight seasons.

"It was important to stay concentrated and not lose our stride in the series after going up 2-0. But we played very well today," said the team's head coach Dragan Aleksic. "I would also add that it's impossible play bad in such an atmosphere. We will start preparing for the Finals now, even though we don't know who our opponents will be."

Their FIBA Europe Cup Regular Season opponents Falco Vulcano are closer to joining Szolnoki Olaj on the other side of the bracket, after taking a 2-1 lead over the defending Hungarian champions Alba Fehervar with an 86-82 win in Game 3.

Who will be the new champion in Romania?

There will be a new champion in Romania, with the current title holders U-BT Cluj-Napoca deposed by Steaua Bucuresti in a hard-fought Semi-Finals series that went the full distance.

After defeating the Mihai Silvasan-coached Cluj-Napoca side 3-2 in a rematch of last season's title clash, the red-and-blues from Bucharest are set to begin the battle for gold against CSM CSU Oradea on Monday.

Interestingly, both of the teams eliminated higher-seeded teams to clinch their spot in the Finals, leaving the Regular Season winners U-BT Cluj-Napoca and second-ranked CSU Sibiu to play it out for the only remaining spot on the podium.

All four teams still in the race for medals in Romania were involved in the FIBA Europe Cup at some stage of the competition this season. Cluj-Napoca went all the way to the Round of 16, while Steaua, Oradea and Sibiu did not progress past the Qualifying Rounds.

Catching up to do for Kapfenberg 

Kapfenberg Bulls could not regain the home-court advantage in the Austrian Basketball Bundesliga Finals, taking a 78-69 loss in the first road game against Swans Gmunden on Sunday, falling behind 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.

Having begun the title defense on the wrong foot in Kapfenberg, the top-seeded Bulls have some catching up to do and will need to win at least one game away from home if they hope to retain the domestic title.

The first pair of games ended up being one-possession contests, with Gmunden inscribing a 74-73 win in Game 1 and Kapfenberg bouncing back with an 82-79 triumph in Game 2 a couple of days later.

The two teams also met in the Austrian Basketball Cup title-decider earlier in the season, with the Bulls mounting a successful title defense. They also triumphed in the Super Cup, having defeated Oberwart Gunners.