By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
After losing last season’s BSL finals, back-to-back EuroLeague champions Anadolu Efes reacted admirably even without injured star Shane Larkin.
However, the trio of Vasilje Micic with newcomers Ante Zizic and Will Clyburn did their job and led Efes to the 71-62 win over champions Fenerbahce in the President Cup’s final, the first title of the season in Turkey.
To be exact Zizic was the top scorer with 22 points, Micic had 16 points and nine assists, while Clyburn added 14 points and 10 rebounds. Rodrigue Beaubois also scored 10 points.
As coach Ergin Ataman said: “We played excellent basketball in the first half of the game, despite being a new team playing with three new key players. We made some mistakes in the second half, we made a lot of turnovers. Fenerbahce took the game in a different direction with a small-ball lineup when our bigs got into foul problems. We made mistakes, we went a little out of order, but we never let go of our control in the whole match”.
The team of coach Dimitris Itoudis trimmed the lead to six points entering the last minute (66-60) but couldn’t do much else after a crucial three by Beaubois.
Nigel Hayes with 13 points was the top scorer for the losing side and Marko Guduric also added 10 points, proving that Fenerbahce which changed coach and added a lot of new faces in the summer, still has a long way to go.
Vasilje Micic explained the situation that Fenerbahce is in: “There was only one important thing today: to win. We are at the beginning of the season. They changed almost all their roster. They definitely need time to play together, to get used to each other”.
Coach Itoudis added: “In the second half, the gap narrowed to 10 points, but they were always ahead and set the tone of the match. They are better than us right now. We are just at the beginning of the season. We did not give up either, in the second half, the team demonstrated good character. It was a good lesson, we fought a war. The league is starting. Time is not our best friend. We need to make more effort. It is not easy, but as long as there is a will, we have a chance to achieve anything. Thank you to our fans. They did not stop supporting. We need to play better for them.”