By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
With the completion of this Week’s game in VTB League, Astana got the last remaining ticket to the playoffs. The Kazakh squad, that advanced to the postseason for the first time in the history of the club, will face CSKA Moscow in the quarterfinals.
With Zenit St. Petersburg second, Unics Kazan fifth, Enisey sixth and VEF Riga seventh, the only race still going strong is the one for the third spot in the standings. It’s between currently 3rd Khimki Moscow and 4th Lokomotiv Kuban when it comes to who will finish higher at the end of the regular season and avoid a possible match-up with defending champ CSKA in the semfinals.
MVP of the Week:
Frank Elegar (Enisey)
By posting his 21st (!) double-double in his VTB career he became the all-time league leader in the related category and led Enisey to a victory over Avtodor Saratov. He gets our “MVP of the Week” because he managed to finish this match with a super 31 in PIR but only took… two shots in the process! He had a terrific defensive output of 11 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 blocks to go with his 12 points plus eight fouls won.
Best Five of the Week:
Alexey Shved (Khimki Moscow)
Khimki needed to beat Astana in order to increase its chances of finishing third in the regular season and Shved delivered. Although he struggled a bit with his shooting (5/19 from the field) he led Khimki to road victory against the tough Kazakh team with 23 points, 7 assists and 4 rebounds.
Ryan Broekhoff (Lokomotiv Kuban)
Lokomotiv Kuban won two games this Week, one vs Kalev Tallin at home and the other against VEF Riga on the road. The latter was by far the most difficult it’s Broekhoff’s performance in this match that gets him to our “Best Five”: 18 points, 8 rebounds and 1 steal in less than 22 minutes for the Australian swingman.
Nick Minnerath (Avtodor Saratov)
He delivered one seriously stunning, career-high performance against Enisey with 37 points and 5 rebounds. Alas, it wasn’t enough to prevent a loss and the end of playoffs hopes that Saratov had.
Ousman Krubally (Astana)
His best game in VTB League wasn’t accompanied with a victory but remained pretty damn impressive. Krubally posted a double-double of 29 points and 13 rebounds against Khimki finishing with a 34 in PIR. Although they were defeated, Astana clinched a playoff berth after Saratov’s lossto Enisey.
Frank Elegar (Enisey)
Prime candidate for VTB League “Mr. Defense 2017”
Coach of the Week: Ilias Papatheodorou (Astana) & Oleg Okulov (Enisey)
We’re going to split this one in two this week since certain kudos are in order for both coaches. Despite a valiant comeback effort against Khimki Moscow, Astana was ultimately beaten but still managed to secure a spot in the VTB League playoffs this Week. A first-time accomplishment in the history of the club, that took place with Papatheodorou at the helm.
Enisey is a “lock” for the sixth spot and can’t finish fifth, but Okulov’s players showed that they simply won’t stop playing. Even though the result against Avtodor Saratov wouldn’t make any difference to them, they still had a solid, game-winning effort showing the grind thanks to which they have earned the sixth place in the standings.
The Last Word: Parma crowd sets new attendance record
Parma is last in the standings with a 1/22 record but that factor didn’t stop 7316 fans from filling the seats of “Palace Molot” in the game against CSKA Moscow, setting a new attendance record. Even though their favorite team couldn’t withstand the power of their incredibly more superior opponents, losing 116 – 55, it was still a night to be remembered in a positive manner for the club.