Pamesa Valencia was crowned Group G champ in style on Tuesday night at home as it defeated Fortitudo of Italy by 80-74 to finish undefeated with a perfect 6-0 record. The outcome of this game proved useless as far as standings go, since the Artland Dragons won their home gae against BC FMP and this situation deprived Fortitudo of any chances it had to advance to the Last 16. The Italian team finished in third place of the group with a 2-4 record. Pamesa Valencia will now play in Group K of the Last 16. It was a close game throughout, but Pamesa managed to hold the important slim margins down the stretch thanks to Albert Miralles and Albert Oliver. Miralles led the hosts with 14 points, Oliver added 13, Ermal Kuqo had 12 and Shammond Williams posted 11. For Fortitudo, Marcelinho Huertas had 17 points, Matteo Malaventura and Lazaros Papadopoulos posted 13 apiece, Jamont Gordon had 11 and Qyntel Woods ended with 10.
A starting 0-4 for Fortitudo soon made Pamesa react with five points by Shammond Williams that led the hosts to a 10-7 lead. Qyntel Woods was the main offensive option of Fortitudo as he paced his team in a close fight, 16-17 after Williams' new basket. Four straight points by Lazaros Papadopoulos including two free throws put an end to the first period with a 18-21 Fortitudo lead. Free throws by Ermal Kuqo got Pamesa going again at the start of the second quarter, but five straight points combined by Stefano Mancinelli and Jamont Gordon put the guests at a more respectable 6 points, 24-30. However, Kuqo stroke back hard with seven points of his own and Albert Oliver joined him to tie the game in a few plays, 33-30. Two free throws by Gordon allowed Fortitudo to jump ahead, 33-34 entering the last minute of the first half. Albert Miralles however, imposed his law on the paint with four points that allowed the hosts to hit the lockerrooms with a one-point edge, 38-37.
Marcelinho Huertas lifted a layup soon in the third quarter to put Fortitudo in command, 38-41, but Pamesa reacted with a 12-4 run that put things back in place again. The hosts were more solid in the 2-point shooting and that was allowing them to hold slim margings throughout the third period as Huertas blasted a new three for 50-48. Matteo Malaventura punished again with a new three-pointer, but Oliver and Rafa Martinez kept feeding the hosts points to maintain a slim lead that Kieron Achara trimmed back down to one point, 58-59 to put an end to the third quarter. The last period saw Papadopoulos tie things at 61-61 to start, but Miralles led Pamesa to a 68-61 from the paint. Fortitudo was surviving thanks to good three-point shooting as Huertas scored for 69-64 and soon, Woods hit two free throws to make it a one-point game yet again, 69-68. Florent Pietrus' own three-point play and a new three by Oliver gave some air to Pamesa, 75-70 entering minute 38. Fortitudo looked for Papadopoulos at this time, but he could only score one basket while Kuqo blasted a three and Oliver added free throws to seal the deal for Pamesa, who finishes the regular season ubeaten.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009