BOLA – Sporting beat Antwerp Giants to qualify for European Cup (Basketball)

With an unequivocal 98-85 (27-15, 22-26, 26-17, 23-27) victory over the Antwerp Giants in the final of Tournament A of the group stage qualification held in Mitrovica, in Kosovo, Sporting qualified for the Europa Cup, in which last season they reached the quarter-finals.

He will be part of group G, alongside: Karhu Basket (Finland), Egis Kormend (Hungary) and Anwil Wloclawek (Poland). The latter was the first opponent, with the opening match scheduled for the João Rocha Pavilion in Lisbon on October 12.

With 12 points in the opening quarter, DJ Fenner (24 pts, 2 res, with 4/6 in triples and 4/6 in 2 points) launched the lions in a partial which started at 9-0 (17- 12) and ended in a 19-3 (27-15) which broke the second and final tie (12-12) and put the greens and whites definitively in the lead.

With Maurice Watson (12 pts, 4 res, 11 ass) explosive in the basket attack and passer for his teammates, he scored eight consecutive points (33-22) and assisted for two hat-tricks, the Belgians still reduced the gap to seven (35-28), however, Marcus Lovett Jr (32 pts), with 5/8 in throws beyond 6.75m, and António Monteiro (11 pts, 5 res), with two others, assured that at halftime (49-41) the advantage even though it remained eight points.

A gap that LoVett quickly helped so that in the third period he quickly reached 19 points (65-46) with 5 minutes to go and it was repeated again, despite the efforts of the Antwerp post Thijs De Rodder ( 12 pts, 3 res), at 68-49 and 75-56.

In the last quarter, the match was definitely settled with Sporting opening the period with three three-point shots followed by António Monteiro, Fenner and Ricardo Monteiro (3 pts, 2 res) to reach the maximum gap of 26 (84-58). But it also meant the end of quality men’s basketball led by Pedro Nuno.

While Reggie Upshaw (19 pts, 5 res) tried to make the Giants lose by the minimum margin to aim for the repechage, they remained in Group B, Sporting stopped, too soon, to impose the pressing defense which had contributed to breaking the opposition, passed attacking hastily and without fuss instead of letting the clock tick in his favor and forced unnecessary shots and dribbles.

Antwerp thanked, reduced to 12 (92-80), but LoVett and Fenner didn’t allow more than that either and helped the team finish with an impressive 56% hat-tricks (14/25).

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