By Antonis Stroggylakis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
These are Lokomotiv Kuban, Bayern Munich, Hapoel Jerusalem, and Valencia that won first place in their respective Groups, plus Gran Canaria, Khimki Moscow, Zenit St. Petersburg and Unicaja Malaga which finished second.
Here are the quarterfinals pairs:
MVP of the Week: Royce O’Neale (Gran Canaria)
He was here, there and everywhere on the floor against Fuenlabrada with a powerful all-around presence portrayed in the 19 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals with which he finished the match. Top scorer (along with Bo McCalebb), passer and rebounder for his team in a “do or die” game, while registering a season-high in PIR (34) and dimes.
Best Five of the Week:
David Logan (Lietuvos Rytas)
When it comes to what transpired during the first half, the game between Rytas and Zenit looked like one man vs … the whole world. And the player in question was David Logan who did everything that passed by his hands to try and send his team to the quarterfinals. Alas, his 28 points (23 in the first half, when Rytas had a total of 36), 7 assists and 5 steals weren’t good enough since the Lithuanians won, but not with the needed +9 margin.
Janis Timma (Zenit St. Petersburg)
Torn between picking him or Sergey Karasev, I decided to go with this guy. The reason is simple. When Rytas went up by three, 75 – 72 with 3:43 to go in the match vs Zenit, he grabbed his gun and drained back-to-back buckets from beyond the arc that made it 78 – 80 with one minute left. The Latvian swingman’s (21 points, 5 rebounds overall) intervention arrived in a key moment since his opponents had built a momentum and looked ready to possibly increase their lead to +9 numbers. Something which would’ve meant the end of the road for Zenit.
Royce O’Neale (Gran Canaria)
Beneficially omnipresent in the most crucial game of the Eurocup season for his team.
Maxi Kleber (Bayern Munich)
Posted a double-double consisted of 20 points and 10 rebounds (both Eurocup career-highs) leading Bayern Munich to victory over Khimki Moscow in the battle for their Group’s top spot. Furthermore, he dropped 5 consecutive points in a row during the first minutes of overtime to help his team establish the foundations of the upcoming win.
Amare Stoudemire (Hapoel Jerusalem)
He makes the cut for the a third time in a row which is far from coincidental since he’s in the best shape since he arrived in Hapoel. In the match against Nizhny, he flirted with the double-double (19 points, 9 rebounds), while blocking his opponents thrice as his team took a victory that secured them first place in Group G.
Coach of the Week: Luis Casimiro (Gran Canaria)
Gran Canaria grabbed the last remaining ticket to quarterfinals by not only beating Fuenlabrada but dominating in the second half. Coach Casimiro’s team was already playing beautiful, offensive-oriented basketball in the first 20 minutes but needed an extra touch of defensive intensity in order to down its opponents. His players improved their 1 vs 1 D and increased their levels of energy after the break, tiring their guests in the process to ultimately cruise towards victory.
Last word: Marko Popovic becomes EuroCup all-time leading scorer
Fuenlabrada didn’t manage to advance in the quarterfinals but Marko Popovic wrote history tonight by becoming the all-time top scorer in EuroCup history. The Croatian veteran guard and two-time EuroCup champion (2011 with Unics Kazan and 2015 with Khimki Moscow) surpassed Mire Chatman in the related list when he scored his 1188th point in the competition by sinking a free throw, almost 2 minutes into the fourth quarter of the match vs Gran Canaria.