Pamesa Valencia won its second game against RheinEnergie 93-84
It was virtually tied for almost three quarters, but Pamesa Valencia made good on its promise by finally stopping RheinEnergie Cologne 93-84 to vault into the ULEB Cup quarterfinals. Combined with a 72-76 road win in the first game, Pamesa swept the series 2-0. The Spanish League leaders will now meet up with KK Zadar of Croatia, which split its two games with Gravelines of France but advanced on points. Tied 56-56 late in the third quarter, Valencia ran down its first double-digit lead by the middle of the final quarter behind ever tighter defense the timely scoring of Bernard Hopkins and Jose Antonio Paraiso. Hopkins led six Valencia scorers with 21 points. Fabricio Oberto added 16, Nacho Rodilla 12, Paraiso, Alessandro Abbio and Victor Luengo 10 each. Dejan Tomasevic added 9 rebounds and 7 assists for the winners. Marvin Willoughby and Sasa Obradovic had 14 points each for RheinEnergie, Geert Hamming and Clint Harrison 12 each.
Nacho Rodilla and Federico Kammerichs got Pamesa off to a 4-0 start, but Stephane Arigbabu pounded inside for a basket to get RheinEnergie on the scoreboard. Points would prove hard for most of the visitors to come by, however, as Victor Luengo added a layup and Rodilla a jumper to Pamesa's lead. But Arigbabu was ready to show the way. He got 2 more points at the line and then stepped out for the game's first three-pointer. RheinEnergie was within 8-7 and now Vladimir Bogojevic copied Arigbabu from downtown to put the visitors ahead 8-10. Another Luengo layup made tied it 12-12 after 6 minutes and then Fabricio Oberto scored his second basket as Pamesa retook the lead. Clint Harrison buried RheinEnergie's third three-pointer, however, as the lead changed hands again at 14-15. Oberto and Luengo struck back, for Pamesa's biggest lead at 19-15, and after Geert Hammink got a basket for the Germans, they shared three more points in the final minute. The result after 10 minutes was Pamesa in charge at 22-17.
Pamesa looked to push further ahead with a Kammerichs dunk to start the second quarter, but again a big man saved RheinEnergie. Like Arigbabu in the first quarter, Hammink combined a pair of free throws with a triple to close the gap to 24-22. Sasa Obradovic was soon making 4 of 6 free throws to draw RheinEnergie within 28-26, then from the same foul line, Marvin Willoughby tied it for the visitors. Hammink and Alejandro Montechia now traded three-pointers before Clint Harrison's free throws made it 33-33. But now Hopkins made a takeover attempt, scoring 11 points inside over a three-minute span as the Pamesa lead exploded to 44-36. The pace was fast, the way Pamesa likes it, but RheinEnergie wasn't about to roll over. Willoughby, Obradovic and Harrison scored in succession to shrink the deficit to 46-42. Oberto dunked again for Pamesa but a Willoughby free throw and a Hammink basket ended a thrilling half with 48-45 on the scoreboard. Hopkins had 13 points and Oberto 12 for Pamesa to that point, while Hamming led RheinEnergie with 12.
Rodilla emerged from the lockers intent on stealing the show for Pamesa. In two minutes he drilled a pair of three-pointers that shot the hosts in front again by 9 points, 54-45. But as in previous quarters, RheinEnergie came back with incredible poise. A layup, a jumper and two free throws by Willoughby were sandwiched around a three-pointer from Harrison for an 0-9 run that erased everything that had come before. The score was knotted again at 54-54 with 15 minutes remaining in the game. Again, the chase was on, and while Pamesa did not give up the lead, Willoughby and Obradovic kept RheinEnergie within a point or two until Hopkins teamed with Jose Antonio Paraiso for a 7-3 run that put the hosts ahead 65-59. Tomasevic added a point to that lead to make it 69-62 after 30 minutes.
Hopkins and Paraiso resumed their assault early in the final quarter with a layup and a triple, respectively, that pushed the lead to 74-65. Obradovic got to the foul line for 4 more points to cut that to 76-69, but an Abbio shot from downtown gave Pamesa the game's first double-digit lead, 79-69. RheinEnergie's only chance now, with 5 minutes lft, was to run and shoot, and Pamesa liked that idea. The lead would hit a high of 87-73 with little more than 3 minutes left on a basket by Hopkins. The lead would not dip below 10 points again.
Tuesday, February 11, 2003