After a thrilling match that went right down to the wire, the Roca Team came out on top in their first leg of the EuroCup final, beating UNICS Kazan (89-97) on the Gaston-Médecin court at home this Tuesday. Prince Albert II attended the game, as did Minister of State, Pierre Dartout, and AS Monaco’s President, Sergey Dyadechko.
The Roca boys have got one hand on the trophy. Having won an incredibly close match against the Russian team UNICS Kazan (89-97), coach Zvezdan Mitrovic and his team are just one victory away fom winning their first European title.
Rob Gray (23 points) saves the day
A killer trio took to the court as Dee Bost (16 points, 6 passes), Rob Gray (23 points, 4 rebounds) and Mathias Lessort (17 points, 5 rebounds) proved the Roca Team’s mental game was once again as rock solid as their physical performance. The opposition did not go down without a fight, but the passion and fury that fuelled Marcos Night (14 points, 6 rebounds) and his team mates saw the Monégasque team steal victory in the game’s final quarter.
Claiming victory in Russia
As the first quarter played out, the Monégasques made a strong start (11-2), but were unable to maintain their lead in the second quarter and Kazan pulled ahead (19-26). AS Monaco may have been on the back foot halfway through the match, but the boys kept their heads in the game. Frustrated by the Ukrainian giant Artem Klimenko (22 points, 5 rebounds) and the experienced Jordan Theodore (15 points, 8 passes), the Roca Team used an old tactic to let the opposition get ahead, before coming back twice as hard to rob them of victory.
Now, there is just one more match that stands between the Monégasques and being awarded their greatest title yet. If they win in Russia next Friday (6pm), then the trophy will be theirs. However, should the match not go their way, the team will play a deciding game against Kazan next Sunday.
Mathias Lessort (Centre, AS Monaco Basket):
“Are we relieved? We’ll feel relieved when we win the title. We’ve only done half the work so far. We’re going to fight hard, we have a real battle ahead. We need to dig deep. It’s not easy earning a European title. We’re still a long way from winning yet.”
Abdoulaye N’Doye (Guard, AS Monaco Basket):
“This victory is very important, but we haven’t celebrated anything yet. We need to go and win over there now. The team in Kazan are really talented. For me, they aren’t a Russian team, they’re an American team. We’ll be using the pick and roll move. Since the start of the season we’ve been playing behind closed doors. There’ll be people watching us in Russia, it’ll be good, it’ll spur us on even more.”