On this day six years ago, UNICS Kazan and Valencia Basket met in the second leg of the EuroCup Finals. Six days earlier, Valencia had registered an 80-67 win in the first leg at La Fonteta behind 28 points from Justin Doellman. Valencia played a fantastic three quarters and led by as many as 33 points (70-37), but a strong finish for UNICS with a 2-18 run to end the game cut the margin to 13 points by the final buzzer, saving the outcome of the series. UNICS needed a 14-point win and had won at home by that margin 8 times during the 2013-14 EuroCup season. It had also beaten Valencia 82-75 at home in Top 16 Round 2.
Doellman, Valencia roll
Valencia knew it needed a strong start to seal the series as soon as possible and did exactly that with outstanding defense. The visitors limited UNICS to a EuroCup Finals record 4 points in the first quarter. Valencia led 4-16 after 10 minutes before 4 consecutive three-pointers – a pair each from Pablo Aguilar and Rafa Martinez – extended the difference to 10-29 in the second quarter, which translated into a 32-point series advantage. UNICS rallied before halftime, cutting its deficit to 25-39 at the break, but Valencia remained in control and broke the 20-point barrier midway through the third quarter before extending it to 45-67 (112-147 on aggregate). The visitors cruised after that and had plenty of time to celebrate a historical win.
A unique celebration
Roughly 100 Valencia fans traveled to Kazan, taking advantage of a charter flight hired by the club. They went to Kazan with the team and once the game was over, those Valencia fans were invited to celebrate with the players on the court minutes after team captains Serhiy Lishchuk and Martinez lifted the trophy. All of them took pictures with the players and the EuroCup trophy at Basket-Hall Kazan and traveled back the same night as the party continued on the charter flight back to Valencia. It was a truly unforgettable experience for those who traveled to Kazan and proof that Valencia is second-to-none when it comes to taking care of its most faithful fans.
About the game
Valencia won the game 73-85 and swept the series with a 140-165 aggregate score to win the trophy it previously captured in 2003 and 2010. The club also earned a Turkish Airlines EuroLeague berth for the 2014-15 season. Doellman had another brilliant performance, finishing the game with 26 points, 5 assists and 4 steals to earn 2014 EuroCup Finals honors. Martinez netted 14 points for his second EuroCup title and Sam Van Rossom scored 11. Romain Sato collected 9 points and 7 rebounds, joining the shortlist of players to have won both EuroLeague and EuroCup titles. Andrew Goudelock scored 22 points for UNICS, while Ian Vougioukas had 11. Bojan Dubljevic, now the competition's career scoring and rebounding leader, won his first EuroCup title that night.
What happened next
Valencia went on to the 2014-15 EuroLeague but did not advance past the regular season. It would reach the EuroCup Finals again in 2017, when it lost against Unicaja Malaga in dramatic fashion, before lifting the trophy in 2019. Two of the players from that squad, Dubljevic and Van Rossom, are still with the team. Martinez won his third EuroCup title with Valencia, an all-time record for players. UNICS is still battling to return to the EuroCup Finals - it reached the semifinals in 2015 and 2019, but lost against Herbalife Gran Canaria and Valencia, respectively. Goudelock went on to break the EuroLeague's single-game record for three-pointers made when he sank 10 against FC Bayern Munich while playing for Fenerbahce Istanbul.