An increasing number of Aussies are finishing their seasons in Europe and heading for vacations. Yet after last week, the European season has resulted in at least one champion from down under this year.
Olimpija Ljubljana, with Mitchell McCarron at the forefront, successfully defending its Slovenian national league tittle. It wasn’t easy however, as the regular season champions defeated 3rd seeded Krka in five games. The deciding game was really tight, with Olimpija crowned back-to-back champions at home after prevailing 95-90.
The Boomers guard was one of the most important players in the 5th and deciding game, finishing with 16 points (10-11 FT), 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 19 efficiency points in 35 minutes of action.
— Petrol Olimpija (@petrol_olimpija) May 29, 2018
There are two more steps left for Johan Bolden to become a champion as well. Maccabi Tel Aviv played 4 quarterfinal games last week, winning their series 3-1 against Ironi Ziona to reach the Winner League Final 4 in Israel. However the Philadelphia 76ers draftee was on the court just in the first game, where he posted 6 points, 4 boards and 7 efficiency points in 9 minutes. Maccabi will face Hapoel SP Tel Aviv in the semifinal series starting on June 10.
While Bolden is waiting for his chance to progress to the championship game, Isaac Humphries and FMP Belgrade have already made that step in Serbia.
After winning their semifinal series 2-1 against Borac, FMP next tackles EuroLeague participant Crvena Zvezda in a best-of-three series for the 2018 title. The former Kentucky Wildcat and Sydney King played just 58 seconds against Borac and he was able to miss one shot and get three fouls in that amount of time, so it is hard to imagine that Aussie would get up from the bench too much in the final games.
Meanwhile Vrsac with Mirko Djeric struggled against Mega Bemax in going down 0-2 (76-94, 61-83) and will now play off for 7th place. the Aussie guard played just 3 minutes (1 assist, 1 turnover, 3 fouls) in the first game and didn’t enter the court in the game 2 loss.
For Brock Motum, the season ended too soon. The Boomers forward and his Anadolu Efes Istanbul side couldn’t top season sensation Tofas Bursa which entered the Turkish Basketball League playoffs in second place. 3rd seeded Anadolu couldn’t regroup after a total blowout at the beginning of the series and lost the second game as well 82-89. While the 2018 Turkish Cup winners were able to bring the intrigue back after winning at home 94-88, their season came to and end in front of their home fans courtesy of a 70-76 loss. After going scoreless in the first game, Motum played his best game in this series after two days with 17 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists. He also added 9 points and 4 boards in a win and 8 points plus 2 rebounds in the last game that ended their season.
33-year-old veteran guard Ben Madgen is still fighting to break the championship curse for Lietuvos rytas Vilnius in Lithuania. They were so close as they won second and third game (67-49 and 74-69), but Neptunas Klaipeda didn’t want to give up: they got back from 16 point deficit, beat Lietuvos rytas 74-70 and forced Game 5. In those two wins Aussie went scoreless with all 6 shots missed and -5 efficiency points in total. Nevertheless Ben played a bit better on Monday as he had 5 points (1-4 2pt, 1-2 3pt), 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 9 efficiency points in 21 minutes of action.