Despite the fact that it was Euroleague Final 4 weekend, most European teams continued their battles in their respective national championships with the Aussie men in the centre of the action.
In Serbia where the 2018 EuroLeague Final 4 took place, the Serbian Super League regular season reached a conclusion. Both Aussies made it through to the playoffs round despite playing against each other on the last day. Although it wasn’t much of a battle, as FMP had no problems in accounting for Vrsac by 30 points, 84-54.
Isaac Humphries played his best game of the season for the winners. The former Kentucky Wildcat and Sydney King played a season-high 17 minutes, scoring 10 points with a season-best 5 rebounds, 4 steals and 17 efficiency points. Meanwhile Mirko Djeric was a bit quieter with 6 points and 4 assists in almost 21 minutes of action.
The loss could have cost the season for Vrsac, but their players were lucky, as Vojvodina wasn’t able to grab a win later that night that would have pushed them out of the playoffs. Djeric’s squad finished the regular season in 4th place of group B and will face EuroLeague’ 2018 participant Crvena Zvezda, while 1st seeded FMP will play against Zlatibor Cajetina in a best-of-three quarterfinal series.
Ben Madgen and Lietuvos rytas Vilnius got through this round the easiest way. The Lithuanian Basketball League’s 2nd seeded team beat Juventus Utena in style, 102-73 at home, swamped them 3-0, and in turn reached the semifinal for a 20th time in a row. 33-year-old veteran Ben Madgen had a big impact in the 29 point win. The shooting guard had 15 points (3-5 2PT, 3-8 3PT) with 3 assists and 9 efficiency points in playing a team-high 29 minutes.
In the best-of-five semifinal series, Lietuvos rytas will likely take ons 3rd seeded Neptunas Klaipeda, which has a 2-1 lead against Pieno Zvaigzdes Pasvalys.
Much closer to his goal is Mitch McCarron, whose Petrol Olimpija started the Slovenian grand final series with an easy victory 90-69 over Krka. The Aussie played just 3 minutes in this game and didn’t make any appearances on the stats sheet. Olimpija is now just 2 wins away from defending their tittle.
Jonah Bolden and his teammates are getting into a much better mood before the playoffs than just a few weeks ago. Maccabi Tel Aviv enjoyed their third straight win in the Israeli League and it helped them to keep fighting for the first place with just one round remaining. Maccabi won 98-95 against Nes Ziona, but Bolden was invisible in this game in going scoreless with just 3 rebounds, 2 fouls, 2 turnovers in 11 minutes of play.
This week the playoffs will start in VTB United League where Ryan Broekhoff’s Lokomotiv-Kuban Krasnodar will face Khimki Moscow region. While the Turkish Basketball League will kick-start their post season as well, where Brock Motum and Anadolu Efes Istanbul will try to beat EuroCup 2018 winners Darussafaka Istanbul.