Defeated by Andorra in EuroCup play, AS Monaco retain first place in the group A. Looking ahead, the team’s last two games of 2018 are of paramount importance for a possible qualification in the Leaders Cup.

After already guaranteeing their participation in the EuroCup Top 16, AS Monaco conceded an inconsequential defeat on the Andorran (87-80) floor this past Tuesday night. For this tenth and final day of the group stage, Sasa Filipovski rotated his players regularly.

Led by Bosnian center Elmedin Kikanovic (14 points, 2 rebounds), the Principality’s men started the game on the right foot. From tipoff, the Ukrainian shooting guard, Sergii Gladyr (the Roca Team’s most recent recruit), showed off his 3 point accuracy (15 points on 5-of-5 shooting, 5 rebounds). They went up 10-5 early on, then 14-11 at the end of the first quarter. With the pace set, the Roca Team seemed to be in control of the match.

Vital objective: Win the last two games of 2018

But that first quarter illusion was short-lived. Quickly, Andorra regrouped and took the lead at the beginning of the second quarter-time without conceding any points to Sasa Filipovski’s men. They would go on to control the score for the rest of the game. The victory was Andorra’s sixth EuroCup victory this season, and they were led by John Shurna’s 17 points and French point guard Andrew Albicy’s 15 points.

The defeat is somewhat inconsequential for Monaco who lost for only the third time in ten European level games, as the team had already guaranteed itself first place in group A. From a strategic standpoint, coach Sasa Filipovski’s rotation of players, similar to the tactic used against Dijon in league play on Saturday night, allowed starters a bit more rest. Everyone shared playing time, including 19 minutes for Kevin Cham and 23 minutes for Rémi Barry.

The balance of energy and efficiency is key at a time when Monaco, which has at times lacked freshness since the beginning of the season, is aiming to win its last twoJeep Elite games of 2018 with hopes of returning to the race for the Leaders Cup.