Pamesa Valencia made it to the Eurocup Final Eight! Pamesa reached the Final Eight for the second consecutive season by edging Crvena Zvezda 82-80 at home in Group K on Tuesday. Pamesa improved to 4-1 in Group K, enough to seal its ticket to Turin in early April. Pamesa will finish first - and face BC Khimki in the Eurocup quarterfinals - if it beats Hemofarm Stada in Vrsac next week or loses by up to 4 points. If Hemofarm beats Pamesa by more than 5 points, Pamesa will be second and will face Dynamo Moscow in the quarterfinals. Pamesa advanced to the quarterfinals for the fourth time since Europe's top competition was created in 2003. Meanwhile, Zvezda dropped to 1-4 and ran out of chances to make it to the Final Eight. Vule Avdalovic paced the winners with 19 points. Matt Nielsen added 12 for Pamesa. Tadija Dragicevic had 20 points for Zvezda. Mirko Kovac added 13 while Andre Owens got 12 for the guests. Pamesa rolled in the first half, as Avdalovic, Nielsen and Shammond Williams allowed the hosts to get an 18-point margin, 49-31, at halftime. Zvezda returned to the game, as Kovac led a 0-10 run that brought the guests back to life, 61-57, late in the third quarter. A three-pointer by Owens completed the guests' comeback, 69-70. Zvezda led 72-75 with under 2 minutes to go but Avdalovic sank a critical three-pointer while Martinez hit 5-for-5 free throws in the final 26.4 seconds to hold off the guests' rally and make Pamesa register a critical home win.
Nielsen got Pamesa going with a layup while Kosta Perovic also scored around the basket for a 4-0 lead, as Williams briefly led the game with a small injury. Marinovic stepped up with a jumper while Owens struck from downtown for a 6-5 Zvezda deficit. Perovic kept pacing Pamesa but a dunk by Mario Keselj and a jumper by Elmedin Kikanovic kept Zvezda as close as 10-9. Nielsen scored around the basket and fed Kenny Gregory for a dunk but Kikanovic and Owens answered from a 14-13 Zvezda deficit. A three-pointer by Nemanja Bjelica tied it at 16-16. Pamesa found a go-to guy in Albert Oliver, that had all points in a 5-1 run. Boris Bakic and Avdalovic traded free throws to fix the score at 23-19 at the end of the first quarter. Boris Bakic sank a mid-range jumper early in the second quarter while a dunk by Dragicevic tied the game again, 23-23. Pamesa did not panic, however, as Ermal Kuqo shined with a put-back layup and fed Avdalovic for a wide open three-pointer, good for a 28-23 lead. A three-pointer by Kovac briefly kept Zvezda in the game, 30-27, as Pamesa improved its defense right away. Meanwhile, Avdalovic followed a layup with another triple to break the game open, 36-27. The guests could not find the way to the basket while Williams and Avdalovic combined for all points in a 13-0 run that boosted Pamesa's margin to 43-27. Free throws by Albert Miralles and a layup by Nielsen soon made it a 19-point game, 47-28. Another basket by Miralles and free throws by Bjelica and Owens fixed the halftime score at 49-31.
Dragicevic found easy points in the paint while Vladimir Stimac and Owens added consecutive fast break layups for a 50-37 Zvezda deficit right after the break. Perovic fed Nielsen for an easy layup but Dragicevic and Stimac kept Zvezda within 53-40. Perovic kept pacing Pamesa with free throws and Gregory added a jump hook to restore a 15-point Pamesa edge, 57-42. Dragicevic buried one from downtown that Martinez matched with an acrobatic three-point play. Kikanovic shined with a layup-plus-foul while Kovac followed free throws with a running triple that made Pamesa call timeout at 60-53. Kovac capped a 0-10 Zvezda run with free throws, as Pamesa went scoreless for more than 2 minutes until Flo Pietrus hit a foul shot. Bakic buried a five-meter jumper to bring the guests back in the game, 61-57. Oliver and Miralles made free throws for a 64-57 Pamesa margin after 30 minutes. Avdalovic sank a triple early in the fourth quarter while Owens provided a highlight with a huge block on Miralles. Marinovic fed Kovac for a corner triple that got Zvezda within 67-61 with 7 minutes to go. Miralles made foul shots that Marinovic matched with a driving layup. Dragicevic took over with a floating layup while a fast break basket by Marinovic made Pamesa call timeout at 69-67. A big triple by Owens completed the guests' comeback, 69-70. Williams answered from downtown but Dragicevic banked in a seven-meter bomb and added a driving layup to restore a 72-75 Zvezda egde with under 2 minutes remaining. Avdalovic tied the game with a corner triple but a put-back ayup by Marinovic put Zvezda back ahead, 75-77, with 45.2 seconds to go. Martinez drew a foul and hit 3-for-3 free throws, Zvezda committed a turnover while Nielsen went to the line with 8.4 seconds remaining. He hit both attempts, Marinovic missed in the other end while more free throws by Martinez allowed Pamesa to celebrate a big win. A late triple by Dragicevic was too little, too late for Zvezda.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009