In an unfortunate end to the season for Monegasque basketball fans, the Roca Team lost the final game of the best of 5 championship series 66-55 away against ASVEL. Having come back from being down 0-2 in the series, the Monegasques lost control of the match after half time and could not reverse the trend before the clock ran out on their championship hopes.

What happened to Monaco in the third quarter? They came back from the locker room looking like a ghost of the team that had dominated ASVEL for two consecutive games. This third period was indeed ghastly for the Roca Team who scored only one basket while their opponents shot the lights out on their way to the championship title.

Tony Parker’s visit to his team’s locker room

ASVEL, however, did not lead at half-time (27-35), due to an especially poor second quarter performance. But after the visit of their president, Tony Parker, to their locker room at the break – as he did during the Coupe de France final last month, and it procured the same result – Villeurbanne transcended themselves and literally asphyxiated the Monegasques on their way to their 19th French championship title. The Roca Team had to wait until the last minute to score their first basket of the third quarter, which concluded with the score of 51 to 41. In the fourth, the players gave their all to catch up, but the door was already closed, as ASVEL’s aggressive defense held strong.

“We showed tonight that we have the best defense. Monaco scored 55 points! We wanted to be champions, no matter the how, no matter the way,” explained Captain Charles Kahudi, one of Villeurbanne’s best players in Game 5 (9 points, 10 rebounds). Too bad for the Roca Team who loses a second final in as many seasons. The team and organization now just has a few weeks to prepare for the upcoming 2019-2020 season. Focus will certainly be on securing the regularity that has made Monaco one of the best French league teams in recent years.

*Article originally published on the French edition of the Monaco Tribune.