One of the ULEB Cup's youngest but most experienced teams put its knowledge of the competiton to good work as FMP downed visiting Ovarense Aerosoles 89-79 to open Group B for both teams on Tuesday. FMP, a regular in the competition's elimination rounds, overcame a slow start to ease into double-digit territory for most of the second half before holding off the visitors from Portugal. Big man Predrag Samardziski was the go-to power for FMP throughout the game, as he collected 22 points and 10 rebounds while missing almost nothing to lead the winners. Djordje Micic followed with 14 points in 16 minutes for FMP, while Dragan Labovic added 12 and Nemanja Protic 11. Ovarense got a huge contribution of 29 points, 6 assists and 3 steals from Henry Cordell as well as 14 points from Elvis Evora and 11 from Greg Stempin. A 32-18 advantage in rebounds, however, proved too much for the Portuguese champs to overcome.
Samardziski opened the scoring for FMP with free throws to end a nervous couple minutes of turnovers and mistakes on both ends. Djordje Micic soon joined him with a single
point, but not until the third minute did the guests get on the board as Henry Cordell downed a jumper. Nemanja Protic struck back for FMP, but Elvis Evora hit from behind the arc for Ovarense to forge the first tie, 5-5. Soon, Cordell brought the visitors their first leads, the last of those at 9-11, by scoring 6 straight points himself. When Fernando Neves added 2 three-pointers, Ovarense had a 6-17 run and an 11-19 lead, forcing FMP to call timeout. The hosts answered then with a 9-0 run but Ovarense managed to end first quarter still leading, 20-23. FMP continued its comeback with a 9-2 start to the second quarter, seizing back the lead at 29-25. After some minutes of trading baskets, Ovarense took back the initiative near the end of the first half, leading 32-34 thanks to better defensive work. FMP made another end-of-quarter burst, however, and led by Bojan Krstovic and Marko Djerasimovic was able to retake the scoreboard at 46-45 after 20 minutes, by which time Cordell already had 17 points. FMP opened third period with points from Dragan
Labovic. Protic and Micic added bombs from downtown and after several minutes hosts had a double-digit advantage, 60-50, for the first time. Cordell started to miss long-range shots and Samardziski joined Labovic in protecting the margin. Cordell woke up in the last minutes of the third quarter, cutting the deficit to 8 points for Ovarense, but FMP was still in charge at 73-65 after 30 minutes. Micic and Djerasimovic
used three-pointers early in the final quarter and Samardziski added offensive rebounds and points in the paint to keep FMP's lead safe and deter any Ovarense comeback attempts. The score was 85-72 with 4
minutes left and the visitors didn't threaten again as Labovic scored last the final score of 89-79 to start FMP's season with a victory.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007