Power Electronics Valencia made it to the Eurocup Finals! Valencia reached the Eurocup semifinals for the third time in club history - its first since 2005 - and sealed a ticket for the big event in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain by thrashing Aris BSA 2003 85-67 at home in front of a sellout crowd of 9,000 fans to sweep the two-way Quarterfinals series on Wednesday. Power Electronics registered its 58th Eurocup win in club history and earned the chance to win its second Eurocup title, as it was the competition's original champion back in 2003. Thomas Kelati paced the winners with 18 points on 4-of-5 three-pointers. Matt Nielsen added 13 while Serhiy Lishchuk had 10 before leaving the game with a hand injury. Matt Walsh led Aris with 15 points. Jeremy Richardson added 13 while Aaron Miles had 12 for the guests. A driving layup by Miles gave Aris its last lead at 7-8. Valencia found a go-to guy in Nielsen, who got some help from Nando De Colo and Kelati to give the hosts a 22-14 lead after 10 minutes. Kelati stayed on fire in the second quarter and joined forces with Jose Simeon in a 13-2 run that broke the game open, 47-28, at halftime. Nothing changed after the break, as Valencia managed to keep a safe double-digit lead all the way until the final buzzer, giving its fans plenty of time to celebrate that their team will keep fighting for Eurocup glory.
De Colo beat the shot clock with a big triple that got Valencia going, as Walsh picked up 2 fouls in the opening minute. Walsh stepped up with a layup but Rafa Martinez quickly scored in transition for a 5-2 Valencia lead. Miles sank free throws that Martinez matched with an off-balance jumper. Andy Betts hit foul shots and a driving layup by Miles gave Aris a 7-8 edge. Nielsen took over with a three-point play and Aris had already entered the foul bonus. Nikos Barlos tried to change things with a layup but free throws by Nielsen and a layup by De Colo soon gave Valencia a 15-10 margin. Nielsen hit free throws that Barlos bettered with a three-point play. Aris switched to zone defense but a layup by Kosta Perovic and an open three-pointer by Kelati boosted the hosts' lead to 22-14 after 10 minutes. Lishchuk took over with a put-back layup early in the second quarter but Keydren Clark erased it with free throws. Demos Dikoudis stepped up with a put-back basket and Miles added an acrobatic driving layup to give Aris some hope at 24-20. Valencia struggled to find open shots to it opted to attack the basket. Martinez sank free throws and Kelati buried another triple to make the guests called timeout at 29-20. Kelati kept pacing Valencia with a jumper that Clark improved with a three-pointer. Valencia kept trying to run to the basket to get to the foul line often. Lishchuk and Kelati hit free throws to make it an 11-point game, 34-23. Nikos Hatzivrettas buried a three-pointer but an unstoppable Kelati followed a baseline jumper with a corner triple to boost the hosts' lead to 39-26. Lishchuk also struck from downtown and Simeon added a jumper that broke the game open, 44-26, after a 10-0 run. Michalis Kakiouzis hit free throws but a buzzer-beating running triple by Simeon fixed the halftime score at 47-28.
Valencia tried to slow down the game tempo to run the game clock down early in the second half. Aris kept struggling to find open shots and De Colo scored in the low post to make it a 21-point game, 49-28. Hatzivrettas tried to change things with a three-pointer but Victor Claver took over with a high-flying driving layup and Martinez struck from downtown for a 54-31 Valencia lead. Miles and Perovic traded layups, as Aris tried to play more aggressive at both ends. Betts stepped up with a put-back basket that Nielsen matched with a mid-range jumper. Walsh tried to change things with a layup and a three-pointer that got Aris within 58-40. Claver provided the highlight of the game with a huge tomahawk dunk but Walsh and Richardson got Aris even closer, 60-44. Florent Pietrus shined with a tip-in and Lishchuk added an uncontested put-back layup but a driving basket by Walsh got Aris within 64-48 after 30 minutes. Miles tried to ignite the guests' comeback with a six-meter jumper early in the fourth quarter. Barlos scored off a steal and a three-pointer by Walsh gave Aris some hope at 66-55. Kelati sank an off-balance bomb from downtown, as Lishchuk left the game with a hand injury. A put-back hook sht by Perovic sealed the outcome, 71-55, with over 4 minutes left. Aris kept trying and did not give up, but Valencia had cruised to a well-deserved win. By the time Ivan Garcia nailed back-to-back three-pointers in the final minute, all Valencia fans were already celebrating that they will have the opportunity to cheer for their own team in the upcoming Eurocup Finals!
Wednesday, March 31, 2010