Valencia have captured their third Eurocup title and a spot in next season’s Euroleague after a convincing 85-73 road win against Unics Kazan.
The Liga Endesa side were comfortable 165-140 winners on aggregate as any pre-game worries were laid to rest when they raced out to a 16-4 advantage after the first quarter and were never out of second gear. Then again, they didn’t need to be against a Kazan attack that just didn’t look up to the challenge.
Justin Doellman led Valencia with 26 points and added 5 rebounds to his total in the win, as he claimed the Finals MVP trophy. Rafa Martinez got 14 to support the American, but this was a team effort. They simply wanted it more.
“I have to thank my coach and teammates for putting me in the right position to do well, but the most important thing is that we won a championship tonight and we will celebrate together,” Doellman said.
“Andrew Goudelock is a great player, but Sam Van Rossom and Oliver Lafayette played great defence against him and our teammates as well, we helped each other out and tried to slow him down. We were not nervous; we were very comfortable and came here with the mentality to win. We tried to impose our rhythm on defense, played very well tonight and that’s the most important thing. We were able to get a championship.”
Goudelock led Kazan with 22 points, 10 of those coming from the foul line, as the Russians taste defeat for the first time at home this season.
And once they fell behind after the first quarter, they realistically had no chance of a fightback on aggregate. Behind double digits for the majority of the contest took the 7,000-strong crowd inside the Basket Hall Arena taken out of the equation quickly by an efficient Valencia attack.
“This team really deserved this,” admitted Valencia coach Velimir Perasovic. “We played really well. All year long, a lot of people enjoyed the way we played. And titles are important, but for me, even if we hadn’t won, these guys are champions.”