Unics Kazan and Valencia will square off in the final of the 2014 Eurocup as a place in next season’s Euroleague awaits the victor.
Trailing by 11 points, heading into the second leg, Unics Kazan continued their overwhelming dominance on their home floor to dismantle Red Star Belgrade 84-67 and win 136-130 on aggregate.
Greek Nikos Zisis was unstoppable as he racked up 26 points and five assists to guide Kazan to the final dance. Andrew Goudelock, the major contributor to the Russian side’s path wasn’t the top scorer but his 17 points was a great help.
The road ends for Red Star, they began in the Euroleague but bow out with a poor second leg showing after a deserving win in-front of 22,000 of their loyal and passionate fans at the Kombank Arena.
Boban Marjanovic led the way for Red Star with 12 points.
“Let me start with thanking my players,” Unics coach Andrea Trincheri praised. “I would like to thank our fans as well, because tonight it was amazing to feel their support. I can tell you it was a very, very hard week. Anxiety, nerves, depression, and at the end the gameday came and we unlocked our potential.
“The first opponent is always yourself. A good thing what we did is that we played 40 minutes on defence. We didn’t have too much emotion, even in the first quarter when we could not make any basket. But the most important thing was to have mental energy for 40 minutes.”
Trincheri added: “I saw many teams that led by 20 points in the second quarter and then won the game by 5. We needed to win by 12. We were very smart about this, and we deserved the win. This team deserved to play the final. I am very happy for my payers. Tonight is the night of the players, not of the coach.”
Kazan will face Valencia in the final after they comfortably saw off Nizhny Novgorod 79-53 on the night, 1,330km away from Kazan in Novgorod and 163-128 on aggregate.
The Russian fairytale is over. The surprise package of this year’s Eurocup brought back down to earth by one of the favourites. Valencia might not have had free-scoring Justin Doellman firing on all cylinders as he scored a mere 8 points, but Bojan Dubljevic was on hand with a game-high 13 points to lead Valencia to the final.
The good news for the two teams involved is that they have been involved in the Eurocup from the opening night. Red Star were the last side standing from the Euroleague and fell at the last four.
No matter who comes out victorious in the final, it will be a victory for the Eurocup over their big brother, the Euroleague.
The one step backwards will be that the final will be contested over two legs, which has taken the shine of the anticipation as it isn’t exactly a winner-take-all showdown between two teams considered favourites at the start.
The first leg of the Eurocup final will be played in Valencia on May 1.