By Eurohoops team/ email@example.com
A great play by Maodo Lo who ended with a dunk by Yanni Wetzell gave ALBA Berlin the first-ever win against Bayern Munich in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague.
The final score was 76-75 as ALBA finally prevailed after six straight defeats in a road game for the Berliners that Bayern desperately needed in order to stay in the playoffs race.
Bayern dropped to 11-18 and practically are out of the playoffs, while ALBA remains in the last spot of the standings with an 8-21 record.
Lo with 16 points and four assists was the hero of the night, while Wetzell ended the game with 11 points.
Lo, a former Bayern player, didn’t dwell too much on the possible “special” meaning of the win and was just relieved: “After every EuroLeague win, we are happy, we are relieved. It was a tough game against Munich like it always is. All the games we had against them finished with a very low margin. Today, it was just a 1-point difference. I’m very relieved that we won.”
Cassius Winston with 14 points was the top scorer at Bayern.
Despite a good start by ALBA which led by six (20-14) after the end of the first period, the game was close from wire to wire. Bayern made it a one-point game at halftime (38-37) and entered the last quarter with a two-point advantage (58-56).
With five minutes left, the score was tied at 69 and Jaleen Smith gave ALBA a 72-69, the 13th lead change in the game.
ALBA entered the last two minutes leading by three (74-71), but one minute later Bayern was up by one (75-74) thanks to Winston. Ben Lammers missed the next shot for ALBA, Winston did the same for Bayern and with 18 seconds left, ALBA had the ball and the chance to take the lead again.
Smith tried to penetrate, and Isaac Bonga played great defense for Bayern, but ALBA still got possession 5.7 seconds before the final buzzer.
Maodo Lo got the ball, penetrated, and gave a perfect assist to Wetzell who dunked the ball with a second left. Bayern’s Andreas Obst took the last shot and missed it.
Losing by one point is hard and as FC Bayern Munich head coach Andrea Trinchieri admitted: “We needed just one possession, a defensive stop. We made a mistake on the last one. It was a tight game. It’s very important to be able to make stops when it counts.”
On the winning side, coach Israel Gonzalez didn’t hide his satisfaction: “It feels great. I’m very happy for the players. They made a great effort, especially after playing on Tuesday in the domestic league. I was scared that we couldn’t reach the end [of the game] with fresh legs, but they were able to do it thanks to the heart they have. I think it was a similar game to the last ones we had against them, decided in the last minutes. Tonight, we’re just better in the last moments.”
Longtime ALBA captain Luke Sikma added: “We feel great. To get another win in the EuroLeague is awesome. Big rivalry game, obviously, it adds a little something extra. We played well and getting a win on the road is great. It helps a lot with team spirit, so we’re happy with that. It always seems that it’s a bucket or two that decides the game, so it’s a good thing that we were always in the game. Today, we came out on top, but every time we play these guys, it’s going to be a battle. As a competitor, that’s what you want.”