Marinkovic, Valencia rout Zenit

2020-01-17T19:52:02+00:00 2020-01-17T22:16:18+00:00.

Antigoni Zachari

17/Jan/20 19:52

Eurohoops.net

Valencia grabbed its second victory in the row against Zenit, a great push in the playoffs race.

By Eurohoops team / info@eurohoops.net

Valencia ends its trip to Russia with a winning streak, as they prevailed over Zenit St. Petersburg with an 86-81 victory for Round 20 of Turkish Airlines EuroLeague.

Vanja Marinkovic was a key player for the Spanish side in this victory, while he finished the game with 14 points. “I think with these two wins this week, and the one against ALBA couple of weeks ago, this team has the potential be in the top eight and fight for a spot in the playoffs. I think we stopped their offensive rebounds, we ran good, and played smart in the last 5 or 6 minutes”, he mentioned.

Brock Motum followed Marinkovic’s lead with 12 points, being also one of the game changers in the second half.

On the other side of the court, Andrew Albicy led all Zenit scorers with a game-high performance of 18 points and four assists.

Valencia in playoffs course

Valencia imposed its pace in the first half 46-42 at halftime and had momentum on its side in the third period as Motum pushed their lead to double digits (62-51).

Marinkovic started off the fourth period strong for Valencia, though Albicy answered to make it a 10-point game again, as the hosts started to trim the deficit. Vladislav Trushkin (9 points) stepped up for the hosts midway through the fourth period and Valencia saw its lead being trimmed to three points.

Aaron Doornekamp (11 points) gave a breather to the visitors with a little over a minute to go (84-76), sealing the victory for his team.

“We think that we live every moment. It’s very important to live every moment against a team like Zenit, which has great defense, is very consistent and offensively skillful and dynamic. We had a lot of problems with rebounds; they had 18 offensive rebounds. But we lived through that situation with good passing and good mentality”, commented coach Jaume Ponsarnau after the game.

After a tough battle throughout the season -that was also depicted in this victory-, Valencia climbed up all the way from the bottom of the standings at the beginning of the season to compete for a spot in the EuroLeague playoffs, currently at a 10-10 record, a tie with Olimpia Milano.

“It’s tough to play two games in 48 hours”

Things look much more different from Zenit’s perspective, as the team falls to a 6-14 record. Joan Plaza went in depth about his team’s situation and how this negative result affected them in his post-game quotes.

“Speaking honestly, I think that Valencia deserved this victory more than us. We didn’t have a great night. I don’t know how many games we have played this season, and people know that I never make excuses: never with the refs, never with the court, nothing. But it’s true that today I saw my players tired. They were always a second late arriving, like they were playing with a bag of stones on their backs”, commented Plaza.

“We are not playing with enough patience – even me – to win a game. In the end, it’s tough to play two games in 48 hours. It’s tough when they had one more day free than us, but it’s no excuse,” he added.

Zenit goes out of this double-game week with a win vs. Baskonia and the loss to Valencia, while at the same time is positioned at the bottom of the standings.

Photo: EuroLeague