Boulogne Metropolitans 92 and Herbalife Gran Canaria had to battle until the final date of the Top 16 and survived do-or-die situations to reach the 7DAYS EuroCup Quarterfinals. The two teams now face each other for the first time in what promises to be a very exciting series.
Back to prominence
Metropolitans has reached the EuroCup Quarterfinals for the second time in club history. It previously did so in the 2014-15 season, when it lost a two-game, total-points series against Banvit Bandirma 140-138. Six years later, Metropolitans have earned another opportunity to play for a spot in the semifinals. Gran Canaria is playing in the EuroCup Quarterfinals for the fifth time in club history. It reached the quarterfinals in four consecutive years, from 2015 to 2018. Gran Canaria advanced to the EuroCup Finals in 2015 where it lost against Khimki Moscow Region, and also reached the semifinals in 2016.
Critical three-point shots
Gran Canaria leads all playoffs teams in three-point shots attempted, averaging 30.1 per game. It made an excellent 40.7% from downtown in regular-season action, though that percentage went down (34.2%) in the Top 16. Gran Canaria heavily depends on its three-point shots to be more competitive, as it proved in the Top 16 when it made 40.3% in wins and 28.7% in losses. On the other hand, Metropolitans is one of the best defenses went it comes to three-point shooting, having held opponents to just 34.3% shooting from downtown. Opponents only took 21.3 three-point shots per game against Metropolitans, though Gran Canaria can be expected to go over that average.
Different kind of experience
On the court, Gran Canaria is by far the most experienced team in this series. Javier Beiran was a World Cup champion with the Spanish national team and Andrew Albicy was named to the 2018-19 All-EuroCup First Team. Moreover, Gran Canaria is A.J. Slaughter's sixth team in the competition, Oliver Stevic is in his ninth EuroCup season with his seventh team and John Shurna is in his fifth EuroCup campaign. Metropolitans' most experienced EuroCup player is Josh Owens, who is in his fourth season in the competition. Things are different on the bench, though. Jure Zdovc has five seasons of EuroCup experience and took Spartak St Petersburg to the semifinals in 2012. Porfi Fisac had never coached at the EuroCup level before.
Gran Canaria survived three consecutive do-or-die battles in the Top 16 to secure its playoffs ticket. Only one player, John Shurna, has been able to play all 16 EuroCup games until now. Four players left the team during the season, but Gran Canaria brought in the right replacements – Sean Kilpatrick, Stevic, Slaughter – to be more competitive at the right time. Metropolitans had its injury problems, too; only five players have appeared in all 16 games. The club parted ways with PIR leader Assem Marei to bring back Miralem Halilovic from injury, but he suffered a displaced jaw fracture after being punched in a domestic game. Coach Zdovc's next-man-up mentality allowed players like David Michineau, Maxime Roos and Anthony Brown to claim bigger roles and make the team even better.