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EuroView: Brock Motum goes back-to-back in Lithuania
Brock Motum earned back-to-back Liuthuanian championships with Žalgiris Kaunas after accounting for Ben Madgen and Lietkabelis Panevezys in game five to win the best-of-seven grand final series 4-1. Jonah Bolden and FMP advanced to the grand final in Serbia, but David Andersen's run was extinguished in France.
Žalgiris claimed their seventh straight national title, their second with Motum on board, after accounting for Lietkabelis 73-68 in a hotly contested game. Neither team gave an inch early, but Žalgiris managed to edge away in the second period to take a 9-point half time lead. While Lietkabelis would narrow the margin in the third term, Žalgiris proved too tough, and ultimately too talented, to hold on for a 5 point win and the chance to celebrate in front of their home fans.
Unlike the 2016 victory in which Motum provided an offensive spark, this time he was relatively quiet by his own lofty standards. The Boomers forward added 5 points (2-of-3 FG) with 1 rebound and 1 assist in 16 minutes as he once again lifted the championship trophy. He enjoyed another very good season, providing 9.8 points and 2.6 rebounds per game while shooting a super-efficient 58.8% from the field and an amazing 49.8% from three-point territory.
Motum managed to earn the win over fellow Australian Ben Madgen who was an integral piece in Lietkabelis' qualifying for their first ever grand final series. The dynamic guard was again well held in the deciding game five, adding 5 points with 3 rebounds and 2 steals. While he may be disappointed not to win the championship, Madgen enjoyed an outstanding in his first season in Lithuania, delivering an impressive 11.8 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. He also shot 51.3% from the field and a very good 41.6% from beyond the arc and should expect to receive a lot of interest from other EuroCup and EuroLeague teams in the off-season.
David Andersen and ASVEL Lyon Villeurbanne's fairy-tale run in looking to defend their French Pro A title after finishing the season in eighth place came to a heart-breaking end at the hands of Strasbourg in a thrilling game five decider.
With nothing separating either side throughout the contest, it all came down to which team was ahead at the final siren. Trailing by 3 but with the last possession, ASVEL had a couple of chances to send the contest into overtime. However their desperation went unrewarded, as they ended up going down by the narrowest margin, 70-69 (highlights).
Veteran Boomer Andersen wound back the clock in a vintage performance in a must-win game. The sharpshooting big man drained 3-of-3 three-pointers on his way to delivering 13 points in 16 minutes alongside 4 rebounds. Despite his big-game performance, ASVEL's amazing post-season run comes to an abrupt end, with Andersen unable to add to the French championship he won with ASVEL last season.
After joining ASVEL following the NBL season, Andersen provided 6.3 points and 3.9 rebounds in 15.7 minutes per game off the bench. He also shot 40% from inside the arc and a very good 43% beyond it.
In the Serbian SuperLeague semi finals, FMP Belgrade earned a hard-fought 91-96 game one road victory over cross-town rivals Partizan Belgrade. FMP secured the important win thanks to a commanding 31-17 burst in the third term and behind the outstanding play of 6'10 forward Jonah Bolden.
Bolden delivered a big-time performance on the big stage, shooting 8-of-10 from the field on his way to 18 points with 7 rebounds and 3 assists. He drained 2-of-3 from downtown and was able to influence the contest inside and out. With the big win, FMP would return home for game two and a chance to book a spot in the grand final by sweeping the best-of-three game series.
In front of their home fans, FMP took immediate control of game two. Over the first half, FMP were able to stymie their opponents to establish a 12-point half time lead. Riding the wave of support from the home crowd, FMP managed to keep their noses in front to book a spot in the grand final, earning a convincing 78-68 win. Once again it was a young Jonah Bolden leading the way.
Bolden only enhanced his NBA Draft credentials with another performance that belied his experience in just his first season as a pro. He connected on 3 triples on his way to compiling 16 points (6-of-12 FG) and 6 rebounds in helping lead FMP to the grand final. Awaiting FMP is EuroLeague side Crvena Zvezda who will provide Bolden and FMP with their toughest test yet, entering the series as underdogs.