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EuroView: Madgen shines against EuroLeague sensation in finals
After Mitch McCarron was crowned as Slovenian champion, three more Aussies tried to follow his footsteps in other European national leagues. One has since fallen short, while two others are still chasing a title.
FMP Belgrade and Isaac Humphries faced EuroLeague side Crvena Zvezda in the Serbian league finals. Despite being swept 0-3, all three games were really tight (83-84, 62-68 and 88-97). Humphries however was a spectator more than a player in this series as FMP played the former Sydney King in just in the last game. The 213cm centre played just 5 minutes, scoring 4 points (2-4 FG) with 1 rebound, but had 0 efficiency points. Although he received little opportunity, Humphries can now add Serbian runner-up to his resume.
Meanwhile Vrsac with Mirko Djeric fought for their honour last week, defeating Zlatibor 2-1 and finishing the season in the 7th place. The guard from New South Wales did not see any action in any of the three games.
Jonah Bolden is one win away from becoming a champion of Israel league. His side, Maccabi Tel Aviv, didn’t have much trouble in the semifinal against Hapoel SP Tel Aviv, progressing to the championship game with a win 98-74. Like Djeric, Bolden didn’t get a chance to hit the court. Maccabi will take on Hapoel Holon in the final.
And last, but definitely not least – Ben Madgen. The 33-year-old veteran and Lietuvos rytas Vilnius finally broke their team's curse and won their way through to the Lithuanian national league final after two years of absence. They accounted for Neptunas Klaipeda 88-82 at home in the deciding Game 5, with Madgen's points were very important in the outcome. The shooting guard posted 12 points, 8 boards and 2 assists in team-high 31 minutes of action and was integral in his side making it back to the championship game.
At this moment Aussie is facing defending champion Zalgiris Kaunas in the finals. After two games in the best-of-seven series, it is tied 1-1. Both teams won their games at home, and it was Madgen who proved the difference. The former Boomer scored just 4 points on 1-5 shooting in Kaunas, but shined really bright in the last game in Vilnius where he added 19 points (6-10 FG, 5-5 FT) for 25 efficiency points.
"Personally I felt great," said Madgen after the game in being interviewed by BasketNews.lt. "We have a lot of great players in this team, especially in guard positions, so in some games you cannot get the opportunity, but someone else is playing very well.
"That's what great team is all about. But I am always ready – I work really hard and I am always doing extra work to stay ready for moments like this. When my number is called, I feel comfortable in myself that I've done the preparation."