EuroView: Motum and Brandt on championship collision course

The Australian men went 6-0 in their respective league playoffs this week, with most playing pivotal roles at the business end of the season.

BC Zalgiris Kaunas have swept their way to the finals with an 80-72 win over Juventus in game three of the semifinal series in Lithuania. Motum put up 11 points on 6 shots and also contributed 3 rebounds in 20 minutes on court. The performance followed a 5 point outing in game two and 7 points, 4 rebounds in the opening game of the series. Zalgiris continued to be the superior team as they have been all season, and . Despite losing their grip on a 15 point first quarter lead, they looked in control throughout the series and will be the heavy favourites heading into the finals.

Angus Brandt’s BC Neptunas Klaipeda secured a 2-0 semifinal series lead over Lietuvos Rytas thanks to a 70-68 win. Brandt came off the bench for 20 minutes and hit two triples in adding 7 points and 6 rebounds with 2 assists in a productive stint on the court. This came on the back of 5 points and 4 rebounds in 25 minutes as a starter for Neptunas in their 71-83 game one victory. If Neptunas can close the series in game three, it would be a big upset over the second most dominant regular season side of the season (28-8 record), and would set up an enthralling contest against Motum's Zalgiris.

ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne took a 1-0 quarterfinal series lead against Chalon with a 65-77 win in the French Pro A. David Andersen played well in just 18 minutes, scoring 11 points (3/8 FG) alongside 6 rebounds and 2 turnovers. Andersen delivered from deep, hitting 3/4 from three-point range and proving himself a real asset to the impressive ASVEL lineup. ASVEL put together a nice lead in the first quarter with a 12-26 quarter as the rest of the game played out as a see-sawing contest. ASVEL secured the win on the back of red-hot three-point shooting, finishing 13/25 from deep and demoralising Chalon with each made three. Perimeter shooting will be a game-deciding factor in game two as ASVEL look to maintain their hot start to the series.

Brad Newley provided plenty of punch off the bench for Herbalife Gran Canaria in their dominating 109-88 victory over Fuenlabrada. Newley scored 13 points in just 11 minutes, contributing to a strong second quarter which powered Gran Canaria to victory. The Boomers swingman made it rain, hitting 3/4 from behind the arc and providing an efficient offensive outlet for the hosts. Gran Canaria played an ideal game, attacking the rim (24/29 FT) and letting it fly from long-range (15/35). It was a big win for Gran Canaria as Fuenlabrada were ranked 7th heading into the round and Gran Canaria will now sit in 5th on the league table.

Also in Spain, Aleks Maric matched Newley’s production off the bench with 10 points and 3 rebounds in Rio Natura Monbus Obradoiro's 74-84 win over MoraBanc Andorra. Both teams tried their hand from long-range and failing badly, as Andorra finish 8/23 while the victors went 8/33. Obradoiro played well from the start and looked in control as they cruised to a comfortable win. In control for the majority of the contest, they took care of the ball, recording 18 assists and just 8 turnovers in the upset win.