Valencia rallies past ALBA
In a rematch of last season's 7DAYS EuroCup Finals, Valencia Basket confirmed its outstanding moment by downing ALBA Berlin 91-77 at La Fonteta on Friday. Valencia improved to 8-9 in the standings, overcoming a 0-5 start, while ALBA dropped to 5-12. Jordan Loyd led the winners with 19 points. Alberto Abalde added 16, Aaron Doornekamp had 15, Mike Tobey got 11 and Bojan Dubljevic contributed 10 for Valencia while Sam Van Rossom dished 11 assists. Marcus Eriksson led ALBA with 14 points. Rokas Giedraitis and Martin Hermannsson each added 13 while Landry Nnoko got 10 for the guests. Luke Sikma and Nnoko shone early, then Jonas Mattisseck, Niels Giffey and Giedraitis each struck from beyond the arc for a 18-27 ALBA lead after 10 minutes. Abalde and Doornekamp rescued Valencia but Eriksson and Giedraitis allowed ALBA to keep a 37-42 margin at halftime. A three-point play by Tobey gave Valencia its first lead midway through the third quarter. Valencia improved its margin to 62-57 after 30 minutes and to 82-71 behind an unstoppable Doornekamp, enough to seal the outcome.
Nnoko got ALBA going with a put-back slam and Hermannsson added a floater but Quino Colom quickly tied the game, 4-4. Sikma scored down low and added a wild alley-oop in a 0-8 run that Nnoko capped with a jump hook for a 4-12 score. Nnoko kept pacing the guests with an alley-oop and Mattisseck struck from downtown to make it a double-digit game. Kresimir Nikic scored down low but Loyd and Abalde brought Valencia a bit closer, 14-22. Giffey scored off a spin move in the low post and Giedraitis added a triple but Tobey kept Valencia within 18-27 after 10 minutes. Abalde and Tim Schneider exchanged three-pointers early in the second, then Doornekamp struck twice from beyond the arc. Eriksson and Giedraitis joined the three-point shootout to boost ALBA's lead to 29-36. Abalde and Dubljevic tried to change things for the hosts but Hermannsson and Makai Mason each hit a jumper. Loyd buried a floater and Dubljevic dunked to make it 37-42 at halftime. Hermannsson hit a jumper after the break but Van Rossom and Loyd combined for all the points in a 7-0 run that tied it at 44-44. Nnoko stepped up with a couple of close baskets, then Giedraitis added a layup but Loyd kept Valencia close. Tobey and Fernando San Emeterio stepped up with consecutive three-point plays that gave Valencia its first lead, 55-50, after a 9-0 run. Hermannsson answered from downtown and Tyler Cavanaugh added a backdoor layup to tied the game. San Emeterio kept pacing Valencia with a triple and Colom found Tobey for a dunk, but Hermannsson kept ALBA within 62-57 after 30 minutes. Vanja Marinkovic found his first points early in the fourth quarter but Eriksson downed a triple for ALBA. Abalde answered with a layup-plus-foul and Doornekamp added a three-pointer that made it a double-digit game, 70-60. ALBA did not panic, as Eriksson, Giedraitis and Mason each buried one from beyond the arc to make the hosts call timeout at 72-69. Abalde rescued Valencia with a running jumper and Dubljevic added a jump hook for a 76-71 score. Then Doornekamp buried back-to-back three-pointers to seal the outcome, as ALBA never recovered.
Aaron Doornekamp, who averaged 3.1 points in 16 games until now, made the difference and ignited Valencia's comeback with his shots from beyond the arc. He finished the game with 15 points, hitting 5-of-6 shots from downtown, two coming when his team was struggling in the second quarter and another two to seal the outcome down the stretch.
A final push allowed ALBA to get within 72-69 midway through the fourth quarter. But then Alberto Abalde banked in a running shot, which Bojan Dubljevic followed with a jump hook to refresh Valencia's offense. Doornekamp soon buried consecutive three-pointers to seal the outcome, 82-71, after a 10-2 run in crunch time.
Valencia outrebounded ALBA by 31-27, pulling down 15 offensive rebounds. The hosts also forced ALBA to pick up as many as 19 turnovers. All those extra possessions made the difference, as well as Valencia's free throw accuracy (17-of-18, 94.4%).
Did you notice?
Valencia is now 19-0 against German teams at La Fonteta, getting 6 wins against ALBA, 3 against ratiopharm Ulm, 2 each against Frankfurt Skyliners and FC Bayern Munich, and one each against RheinEnergie Cologne, Telekom Baskets Bonn, Artland Dragons, Wuerzburg, EWE Baskets Oldenburg and Brose Bamberg. Valencia also beat ALBA in the 2010 EuroCup Championship Game played in Vitoria-Gasteiz.
ALBA hosts Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv on Thursday, January 9, before Valencia welcomes Olympiacos Piraeus on Friday.
Friday, January 3, 2020