By Antigoni Zachari / firstname.lastname@example.org
Virtus Segafredo Bologna used its home crowd energy to take down Frutti Extra Bursaspor 80-67 in the 7DAYS EuroCup 2022 Final to seal a ticket to the 2022-23 EuroLeague season.
Virtus is set to make a long-awaited return to Europe’s premier competition, after last competing there in the 2007-08 campaign. This will also mark a landmark return of coach Sergio Scariolo to the EuroLeague for the first time since leading Baskonia in the Top 16 of the 2013-14 season.
“It was a really, really great competition, this EuroCup basketball level was so high”, said Scariolo after the game. “So many great teams didn’t make it and we hanged in when we had to with a lot of injuries in the first part of the season, but we built up our chemistry, our cohesiveness and we finally got healthy and put a couple of new players in I think we had a great last three months of the competition and we honestly deserved the trophy.”
All-EuroCup First Team veteran Milos Teodosic was smoking hot to pace Virtus to victory. The Serbian guard scored 21 points on 4-out-of-8 from the three-point line to set the mood for his team and win the Final MVP honor.
Marco Belinelli fired up the crowd, to exit the game with a total of 12 points, Kyle Weems and Mam Jaiteh each scored 13 points and Jakarr Simpson added 11 points and 5 rebounds.
Bursaspor managed to recover from a 15-point deficit early in the fourth quarter to trim the deficit to four points, yet Virtus didn’t lose its composure and remained in charge from start to finish.
The Turkish side put up a resilient effort throughout the game, which marked the first continental final presence in the club’s history. David Dudzinski scored 14 points for Bursa, Onuralp Bitim followed with 12 points, Derek Needham and Kevarius Hayes each tapped 11 and John Holland added 10 points.
“Not disappointed. I am very proud I am very happy”, commented EuroCup Coach of the Year Dusan Alimpijevic. “I am glad to work with players like this. I am not disappointed. We played well. We fought. It was difficult to play like this without TG. And congrats to the coach and their team, organization, GM, and everybody in Virtus for a well-deserved EuroCup championship and good luck in the EuroLeague next season. They deserve it.”
Photo credit: EuroCup