Another EuroLeague Final Four came to an end on Sunday night (19/05) and here is what we saw from the top four teams at the Fernando Buesa Arena.
CSKA Moscow: The Muscovites are the 2019 EuroLeague champions! They played excellent on both ends and rallied past their opponents in the semi-final and the Championship Game.
They certainly deserved to win their eighth EuroLeague title and return to the top of Europe for the first time since 2016.
Head coach Dimitris Itoudis prepared his players very well, both mentally and physically, while Will Clyburn was the best player of the tournament and was named the MVP of the Final Four, thanks to his all-around performance.
Anadolu Efes: Ergin Ataman and his players should be proud of their performance in the 2018/19 season. The team made it to the 2019 Championship Game after finishing on the bottom of the standings last season.
Coach Ataman created a deep and very talented team, with Shane Larkin and Vasilije Micic as the leaders. The backcourt duo exploded in the semi-final (combined for 55 points) and helped Efes crush rivals Fenerbahce (73-92).
In the Final, the lack of experience, the turnovers and some bad decisions in the final minutes of the game prevented the Turks from earning their first-ever EuroLeague title.
However, almost all the players were at their very best and if the roster remains intact, then Anadolu Efes will be one of the favourites to reach the 2020 Final Four.
Real Madrid: The “Whites” attempted to successfully defend their title, but came up short. Despite being in front by double-digits in the semi-final, they didn’t endure the come-back of CSKA Moscow and were defeated.
Despite being disappointed by the result, they stepped up two days later and dominated Fenerbahce to finish third.
Fenerbahce: Without a doubt, the 2017 EuroLeague champions were the biggest disappointment of the competition. They were not well-prepared, especially mentally.
The injuries to key players and the uncertainty on Jan Vesely’s and Nikola Kalinic’s playing condition affected the team negatively.
Clearly, nobody was expecting to see Fenerbahce suffer two heavy defeats and play so badly on both ends. It is certain, though, they will re-group and come back stronger next season.
During the weekend, we also saw Jan Vesely win the MVP Award, however I believe that Clyburn should have been the recipient of this award, as he played consistently throughout the season and was the leader of his team.
Furthermore, the injury of Erick Green on Sunday (19/05) led to a series of complaints by the players (Fabien Causeur, Rudy Fernandez, Trey Thompkins and more) on the necessity of the third-place game.
Overall, it was a great event in Vitoria, where a new champion was crowned, as all basketball fans are now waiting to find out the cities that will host the 2020 and 2021 Final Four events.
It is also certain that these four teams start from the pole position as the favourites to make it to next season’s Final Four.
*Yiannis Bouranis and TalkBasket.net were in Vitoria-Gasteiz and covered the 2019 EuroLegue Final Four live from the Fernando Buesa Arena! Thanks to all basketball fans for their support to the website!