Inspired second half hands Tenerife the Basketball Champions League title

2022-05-08T21:54:04+00:00 2022-05-08T23:58:15+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

08/May/22 21:54

Better defense after the break sends Lenovo Tenerife to the Basketball Champions League title

By Johnny Askounis/

Becoming the second two-time champion in Basketball Champions League history, Lenovo Tenerife controlled the second half and took down Baxi Manresa, 98-87, Sunday night.

The Canary Islands outfit outscored Manresa, 33-17, in the third period. A couple of three-pointers tucked in by Kyle Wiltjer shaped a 15-point cushion to start the fourth quarter. His 17-point tally at Bilbao Arena provided a huge championship boost.

Finnish sharpshooter Sasu Salin recorded a team-high 18 points in the first-ever meeting of two teams from the same country in the Champions League Final. Giorgi Shermadini threw in 14 more points. Final Four MVP Marcelo Huertas posted a 13-point, 14-assist double-double.

Bilbao hosting the Final Four was an added bonus for head coach and the two-time champion himself Txus Vidorreta. In addition, the other link between the 2017 championship, Aaron Doornekamp joined the limited list of two-time champions and put up 11 points, including nine in the game-changing third quarter.

The first team to compete in a BCL championship game for the third time also emerged as the first team to lift the trophy, despite trailing at halftime. In the sizzling 20 minutes of the first half, the team coached by Pedro Martinez edged out a 50-49 lead but was held to catchup mode and unable to provide a response the rest of the way.

After being named season MVP and backed by most of the 8,157 fans in attendance, Chima Moneke rushed to 12 points and ended up with a game-high 24 points. However, he fell short of leading the Catalonia club to its first-ever European title. Joe Thomasson had 15 points. Injured players Guillem Jou (Achilles tendon surgery) and Dani Garcia (leg) remained out.

Photo Credit: Basketball Champions League