A long trip to Israel and a tenth victory in the Champions League to confirm their status as leaders: the Roca Team began 2017 in good form last night.
In Monaco, there is always one who saves the day. Encouraging bursts of counter-attacks while behind in the 4th QT (61-56,32) on Nahariya’s court, the Roca Team once again found the men and resources to suceed. If the man of the match is probably John Bryant, who played through a strong defense (14 points, 11 rebounds, 3 counters), it is Jamal Shuler who donned the superhero outfit during last crucial minutes of the game.
Ironi Nahariya still led 63-62 at 2mins15sec from the siren when Jamal “Shooteur” threw a three-point killer, Ironi did not give up, resuming the lead, on a Faust dunk (65-66) Sain: three small dribbles to break away and another three-point net by Shuler (68-66). Too much for Ironi, KO got out of his seat, it’s clear that Shuler sent a message to Israel: his wound is no more than a bad memory, and coach Mitrovic had a fine instinct to leave him on the court until the end.
Rendez-vous on the 11th
Bryant and Shuler, not to mention Zack Wright and Amara Sy, were able to compensate for a general breakdown that was starting to become problematic, Yak Ouattara (0/6), deprived of an All-Star Game (tear) his shooting stats (22/65) could have been restraining. But Monaco never renounces, and the strong virtues of the ASM have crossed into the new year. Rendez-vous on the 11th of January against Banvit to establish first place, synonymous with qualifying for the 1/8 finals.
Zvezdan Mitrovic (ASM): “We had a mastery of the first period, then Ironi played much better in defense and we were punished in counter-attacks. Problems in attack, but we finally managed to control the rebounds and take in the important shots.”
Eric Alfasi (Ironi): “We came short in execution in the end. But I am very proud of my players who made a great effort. We played against a good team, high level. We still believe in qualifying.”
Last night’s Results:
Bakken – Helios 74-68
Banvit-Aris Thessaloniki 95-94
Group Ranking A: 1, Monaco 21 pts; 2. Banvit 2 Opts; 3. Nymburk 19 pts; 4. Aris 18 pts; 5. Frankfurt 15 pts; 6 Ironi 14 pts; 7. Helios 13 pts; 8. Bakken 12 pts.