CSKA Moscow claimed its 11th straight Russian league title after beating Krasnye Krilya Samara 68-66 on Sunday evening.
Sonny Weems drained a three-pointer with 12 seconds left in the game to ensure CSKA’s 20th title overall, but they were pushed all the way by a resilient Samara side who led 63-61 thanks to a 17-0 run which included holding a star-studded CSKA line-up scoreless for nearly eight minutes of the fourth quarter.
Sasha Kaun led the winners with 18 points. Andre Smith led Samara with 14.
This result puts CSKA Moscow on a 15-2 record with one game left. The champions’ only rivals, BC Khimki are 11-4 and have no chance at catching them. The two teams play each other in their final league game on May 3.
The battle for third will come down to the last game of the season as well. Newly crowned Eurocup champions Lokomotiv Kuban and Spartak St. Petersburg are both locked on 9-8 records with Kuban hosting BC Khimki and Spartak playing Enisey on the final day, two days before the Euroleague Final Four in London.
This season marks the first time that the PBL will not have a playoff format. This year’s Russian League title is determined by 18 games played with some counting simultaneously in the VTB United League standings.
Lokomotiv Kuban will compete in next season’s Euroleague along with CSKA Moscow due to winning the Eurocup.