There is good reason for this season to feel like something new for fans in Andorra. MoraBanc has achieved many firsts in 2018-19 and reaching the 7DAYS EuroCup Quarterfinals is just one of them.
Coming into the Top 16, MoraBanc was 1-9 on the road in the EuroCup with its lone win outside of Andorra coming against Germani Brescia Leonessa, which did not get out of the regular season. Then MoraBanc went to the Croatian capital for the Top 16 opener and held off Cedevita Zagreb 81-87 behind 22 points on 6-of-8 three-point shooting, 8 assists and 4 steals. That game gave MoraBanc a boost which carried it through that phase and into the quarterfinals. Looking back, the win was less impressive noting that Cedevita did not win at all in the Top 16, however, it set the team on a path that would see it beat UNICS Kazan at home the following week and Zenit St. Petersburg on the road in Round 3 to be able to climb into the quarterfinals a week later.
On a three-point shooting happy team, Coach Ibon Navarro needs to make sure he has someone ready to carry the load in the paint and Moussa Diagne has done an excellent job at that. The 24-year-old center has contributed as a rebounder, a shot blocker and an efficient scorer, whose numbers only improved in the Top 16. Diagne has started every game since Round 9 and MoraBanc is 6-2 in that period. He was worth 9.3 points on 69.2% shooting plus 5.8 rebounds for a performance index rating of 14.5 in just 22:25 per game in the Top 16. With Diagne in the paint, MoraBanc is a stronger team.
Feels like the first time
There is good reason for this season to feel like something new for fans in Andorra. Although this is actually MoraBanc's second EuroCup campaign – it debuted last season, the club has achieved many firsts in 2018-19. Already this season MoraBanc won its first road game (in Round 7 at Germani Brescia Leonessa), advanced to the Top 16 for the first time and is about to compete in a playoff series for the first time. MoraBanc had its first 100-point game in Round 2 and experienced its first MVP of the Round (Andrew Albicy in Round 1 of the Top 16). The team has set single-game club records in nearly every major statistical category and between Albicy, Dylan Ennis, Reggie Upshaw and Moussa Diagne also rewrote the single-game marks for players.
Why this team can win
Few teams can compete with the MoraBanc backcourt. Andrew Albicy was one of the most productive players in the Top 16, Dylan Ennis proved to be an ideal complement to him and sixth-man David Jelinek, who was the team's top scorer in the regular season, is back after a knee injury sidelined him for a month in the Top 16. Those players have the freedom to penetrate because sweet-shooting power forward John Shurna can open the floor with his three-pointers. David Walker has only improved as the season has progressed and Moussa Diagne, Reggie Upshaw, Jerome Jordan and Oliver Stevic provide great muscle in the paint. MoraBanc is 9-0 this season when it has scored more than 80 points in a game and with a roster that goes 11 deep, Coach Navarro has a constant supply of fresh weapons off the bench to get to that number many more times.