Generally impressive in EuroCup play this season, ASM appeared to have a bit of a post-New Year hangover in their first Eurocup Top 16 match. The Roca Boys fell prey to their hosts 74-83  on the Alba Berlin hardwood.

The Roca Team has started the new year as it finished the previous one: with a loss. Beaten in Bourg-en-Bresse for the 15th day of JeepElite last week, the ASM did not get back to their winning ways on the floor of the Alba Berlin (74-83), Thursday, January 3. For their first outing in the Top 16 of the EuroCup, the ASM seemed somewhat distracted. Lackadaisical defense and the chronic carelessness with the ball hampered the team’s chances at victory from tipoff.

A two-faced performance

Despite the result, or rather paradoxically, the Rocher team, brought a full squad of first-stringers to Germany. Foremost anticipated was the return of Gerald Robinson to the rotation, especially considering that it was against his former team! But if the Monegasque attack has missed the American talent since contracting a groin injury on Nov. 14 against Red Star Belgrade, he did not meet expectations (2 points in 19 minutes ). These numbers were not unique to Robinson unfortunately. Monaco’s go-to guy over the last few matches, Sergii Gladyr, only mustered 3 points in 17 minutes of play.

Already trailing at the end of the first quarter, the Roca Team never made up the difference. They did reduce the lead to 4 points in the fourth quarter but ending up losing by9. It should be said that they could (maybe should) have lost by even more. The team was genuinely clumsy on offense just as lax on the defensive end. Solid performances from  Elmedin Kikanovic (26 points, 8 rebounds, 5 fouls provoked) and Paul Lacombe, author of a double-double (20 points, 10 rebounds) certainly offset the inconsistency of Monaco’s level of play (13 offensive rebounds allowed and 15 turnovers).

Oddly, throughout the match, Monaco gave the impression that they could have taken over the match at any point. Although Berlin is a favorite to win the competition, there was a noticeable gap in talent. Next Wednesday, Sasa Filipovski’s men will challenge Lithuania’s Rytas Vilnius. It will be up to them to balance their record.