The Roca Team, eliminated from the Coupe de France by ASVEL, Saturday night, only has Jeep Elite league play to look forward to.
Thanks to a gentleman’s agreement between the two sides, unregistered coach Sasa Obradovic was able to take his place on the bench of the Roca Team for their Coupe de France match against ASVEL. It was his first match on the bench since his arrival in Monaco. Unfortunately, his presence did not bring any new luck to his team, which was dispatched by ASVEL on Saturday night, in the quarter-finals of Coupe de France (101-87).
ASVEL headed to the final, Monaco shifts focus to the league
Recently eliminated from the EuroCup by Andorra, the Lyon-based team seemed weakened by the accumulation of consecutive matches. An impression that seemed to be confirmed after the start of the Roca Team on the Arena Loire Trélazé hardwood. The ASM first bullied their way inside, with a very efficient Elmedin Kikanovic (12 pts on 100% shooting in the 1st half) and an effective counterattack led by Robinson. But, after having some difficulty establishing a rhythm in the first fifteen minutes (27-20 at the end of the first quarter and 42-24 in the 15th), ASVEL slowly fought their way back into the match, stifling the Monegasque flow of aggressive play.
Their success is first due to choices made by coach Zvezdan Mitrovic. After returning from the locker room, the coach decided to switch to a zone defense, which would stop Monaco’s offensive mechanics. Unable to circumvent the Rhone block, the Roca Boys would slowly sink into a slump, victims of an exceptional second half played by their adversaries. Their young star, Theo Maledon, netted 25 points – one of his best games of the season.
By beating Rouen (Pro B), Sunday afternoon (90-81), ASVEL qualified for the Coupe de France final against Le Mans, their 14th trip to the finals in this competition. The Roca Team, meanwhile, has only one championship to play for heading into the end of the season.
*Article originally published on the French edition of the Monaco Tribune.