Domestic round-up: Venezia off to winning start; Sigal Prishtina skid; Szolnok win Regular Season crown
MUNICH (FIBA Europe Cup) - Umana Reyer Venezia began their title defense in the Italian championship Play-Offs on a positive note, while Sidigas Scandone Avellino gave up their home court advantage to Aquila Basket Trento on Sunday.
In addition to Serie A in Italy, we look at the latest domestic developments for FIBA Europe Cup clubs in Kosovo and Hungary, where the temperature is also heating up.
Mixed bag of results in Italy
The defending Italian champions Reyer Venezia have successfully shifted their focus to the home front after defeating fellow Italian side Avellino in the FIBA Europe Cup title game, earning the club their maiden European trophy.
Having secured the Regular Season crown by defeating Olimpia Milano last week, the top-seeded Walter De Raffaele side did not lose any momentum in transitioning to Play-Off mode in a highly-competitive Italian championship.
Pero 🇭🇷 Monster Night 🔥❤️🏀! #Repost @legabasketa with @get_repost ・・・ L’@umanareyer si aggiudica Gara1 contro un'ottima @vanolicremona! Al Taliercio si chiude 87-77 con un super Peric. Appuntamento sempre a Venezia martedì sera per Gara2! #LBAPlayoff PosteMobile #IMieiPlayoff #Basket #LBA #Legabasket #SerieA #LBASerieA #ILovethisgame🏀
Paced by 23 points and 7 rebounds from Hrvoje Peric, the Venice club topped Vanoli Basket Cremona 87-77 to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series in the Quarter-Finals.
The start of the Play-Offs was not as positive for Avellino, who gave up a double-digit lead to Trento in the fourth quarter and suffered a 79-77 defeat, which immediately put them on the back foot.
If Venezia and Avellino both advance to the Semi-Finals, the FIBA Europe Cup finalists will meet each other once again.
Kosovo: Bashkimi land first strike on Sigal Prishtina
Having won the last four editions of the domestic championship, Sigal Prishtina could not get off to a winning start in the Finals this time around, picking up an unexpected 84-81 loss against Bashkimi Prizren in the first game on Saturday.
This result comes as a major surprise, as the 12-time champions from the capital had suffered just one defeat in the Kosovo Basketball Superleague all season up to this point.
A big fourth-quarter comeback and a 26-point and 7-rebound effort by big man Filip Bundovic were not enough to save the day for Prishtina, who were down 69-54 heading into the final period.
Mikaile Tmusic led the winners with 23 points and 6 rebounds, while Aaron Walton-Moss finished just shy of a triple-double with 19 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists.
FIBA Europe Cup teams dominate in Hungary
Despite dropping the last couple of games in the Hungarian Championship to Falco Vulcano and Alba Fehervar, Szolnoki Olaj have still managed to secure the top seed ahead of the Play-Offs, with the other three FIBA Europe Cup teams lining up directly below them.
The Dragan Aleksic-coached side did their work early and finished the Regular Season with a 27-7 record, while Falco Vulcano pipped Alba Fehervar for second place after moving to a 24-10 mark with a 100-99 win over Szolnok on the last gameday.
The two teams that went furthest in the FIBA Europe Cup, Alba Fehervar (23-11) and Egis Kormend (20-14), were third and fourth respectively.
In the Quarter-Finals, Szolnoki Olaj will play Atomeromu SE Paks; Falco Vulcano will be tested by Zalakeramia; Alba Fehervar will take on Pecsi VSK, while Egis Kormend will be up against KTE-Duna.