Valencia completes comeback against Alba and stays alive in the playoff race

2021-04-02T20:52:38+00:00 2021-04-02T22:48:46+00:00.

Stefan Djordjevic

02/Apr/21 20:52

Valencia made a big comeback in a must-win clash against Alba Berlin as the Spaniards continue chasing one of the two remaining playoff spots in EuroLeague

By Stefan Djordjevic /

Despite being down by as much as 18 points in the first half (35-17), Valencia Basket managed to recover and eventually snatch a 90-86 road win in Round 33 of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague.

“First of all I want to congratulate ALBA Berlin, because they’ve had an unbelievable season. They played not for the result, but for the game of basketball and for their philosophy. I think it’s a good thing for the Euroleague and for European basketball. We are happy for the win. We started the game with a lot of nerves, at not the right level of intensity, probably frozen because of the nerves. But we learned during the game and had five players with inspiration,” coach Jaume Ponsarnau said.

Klemen Prepelic was the sole reason for Valencia keeping hope early on as he dominated the first half (17 points) and finished with a total of 24 points on 5-7 shooting from long range.

The Slovenian sharpshooter was well-aware of this game’s importance: “It was a final for us tonight, it was a big game. They were playing without pressure, we had a lot of it. We proved that we can play under pressure, even though we didn’t play so well against Olympiacos on Wednesday. But today we came back, we showed character when we were down by almost 20 points. I’m proud of the team. Now we have another final to go.”

Nikola Kalinic scored 17 in addition to Derrick Williams’ 15 and Mike Tobey’s 12 points. Williams also stepped up down the stretch with an alley-oop dunk in transition as well as a 2+1 dagger play.

For Alba, Marcus Eriksson had 17 and Simone Fontecchio 16 points.

Valencia (18-15 desperately needed the win here in order to stay alive in the race with Real Madrid (19-14), Zenit Saint Petersburg (18-14) and TD Systems Baskonia (18-15) for the final two playoff spots.

Photo Credit: Turkish Airlines EuroLeague