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24.05.2008 21:35

Into the final (85-71)


AXA Barça have made it to the final of the ACB League after beating DKV Joventut with a masterly performance. Xavi Pascual’s men have also ensured a spot in the Euroleague and home advantage in the final.

AXA Barça have comfortably beaten DKV Joventut in the second of the semi-final matches in the League play-offs and are now through to the final where they will take on Tau or Unicaja. In addition to reaching the final, the victory also means that AXA Barça have a guaranteed spot in next season’s Euroleague plus they will have home advantage in the final of the ACB.

15 unanswered points

QM3D2963.jpgAXA Barça came out all guns blazing. The first shot was a three pointer from Gianluca Basile, and Barça raced into a 15-0 lead. Solid defence under the hoop made life difficult for Aitor García Reneses’s side, which went almost 7 minutes without scoring. With 3:12 to go in the first quarter, Moiso got a 2+1. But then they went back to being ineffective. An almost unrecognisable DKV Joventut didn’t score again for another two minutes, while AXA Barça pulled away. The Badalona outfit did manage to score three more points before the break (22-6). A block by Roger Grimau on a shot by Ricky Rubio ended the first quarter.

Joventut come back

QM3D2768.jpgThe second quarter began rather differently. The first basket was a three pointer by Pau Ribas for DKV, and a sequence of 4-10 put DKV back in with a shout at 26-16. However, Xavi Pasqual’s side kept ahead through their excellent offence, especially thanks to a superb Fran Vázquez (8 points in the first half) and Àlex Acker (11 points).

But DKV were looking increasingly dangerous with a fast counterattacking game. Sonseca (10 points) and Rudy (7 points) brought their side to within two points of AXA Barça (40-38, 18th minute). Then the guard from Mallorca collided with Jaka Lakovic and had to leave the court. AXA Barça kept up the pressure in the last few seconds and reached half-time five points up (45-40).

Evenly balanced

QM3D3067.jpgOn the restart both teams were evenly balanced, and the third quarter saw each side score 19 points. DKV had the chance to turn the game around in the 26th minute when a free throw by Noel left the score standing at 57-56. A break in the area by Jaka Lakovic opened up the gap, and at the end of the third quarter AXA Barça were still ahead by five (64-59).

Superb Ilyasova

QM3D2672.jpgIn the last and decisive quarter, the tension was electric in the crowd and on the court as both sides sought to gain the upper hand. In the final stages of the match one of AXA Barça’s key players was Ersan Ilyasova. Whether in defence or offence, the Turkish player was heavily involved in the game with the Palau Blaugrana faithful chanting his name. Ilyasova ended with 18 rebounds and 15 points.

In the 35th minute AXA Barça pulled away as a free throw by Àlex Acker made it 75-66 (+9 points). A couple of minutes later the gap was up to +10 (80-70 37th minute). The clock was running down and AXA Barça kept their nerve to run out winners by 85-71.
Into the final (85-71)

AXA FC Barcelona: Basile (8), Marconato (5), Lakovic (17), Ilyasova (15) and Acker (20) – starting five – Pepe Sánchez (-), Neal (-), Vázquez (12), Kasun (6), Grimau (2).

DKV Joventut: Rudy (9), Ricky Rubio (6), Barton (7), Jagla (-) and Popovic (-) – starting five – Ribas (10), Sonseca (13), Laviña (-), Moiso (11), Noel (5), Mallet (10).
Quarters: 22-6; 23-34; 19-19; 21-12

Referees: Francisco de la Maza, Daniel Hierrezuelo and Juan Carlos García.

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