Zalgiris defends its crown, is Madrid bound

Zalgiris Kaunas is the winner of the Kaunas ADIDAS NEXT GENERATION TOURNAMENT after beating VEF Riga 87-65 in the title game. It’s the second straight year Zalgiris bested VEF in the finals of this qualifying tournament, and victory earned Zalgiris a spot in the eight-team Finals at the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four in Madrid from May 14-17. This is 11th time in 13 years Zalgiris will play at the Final event, and it joins Stellazzurra Basketball Academy Rome and Real Madrid who have already secured berths in the Finals after winning the Rome and L’Hospitalet qualifying tournaments, respectively. Tournament MVP Martynas Echodas scored 21 points in the title game, Laurynas Birutis collected 15 points plus 14 rebounds, and Laurynas Beliauskas added 14 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals for Zalgiris. Echodas and Beliauskas have been chosen into the All-Tournament team along with Bathiste Tchouaffe of INSEP Paris, Rodions Kurucs of VEF, and Omer Yurtseven of Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul.

Zalgiris quickly grabbed control of the finals, finishing the first quarter with a 12-0 run for 21-9 lead, and proceeded to build 34-14 margin in the second. VEF closed within 60-52 in the third period, but a 10-0 run helped Zalgiris pull away to a 20-point margin and cruise to victory. VEF was paced by 23 points from Karlis Silins while Kurucs had 16 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 blocks. INSEP won the third place with 65-57 decision over Fenerbahce. Winner was paced by 19 points, 9 rebounds and 4 steals from Tchouaff, while Stephane Gombauld added 13 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists. Jonathan Jeanne chipped in 10 points and 10 rebounds, while Fenerbahce got 26 points and 12 rebounds from Yurtseven.

Source: Euroleague.net