Two Turkish teams to clash in Euroleague Final Four semifinal
Anadolu Efes is headed to the Final Four for the first time in 18 years after disposing of Barcelona Lassa 80-71 on May 1 at Sinan Erdem Dome in Game 5 of their best-of-five Euroleague playoffs series.
Efes will join crosstown rival Fenerbahçe Beko in Vitoria-Gasteiz on May 17-19, marking the first time Turkey is represented with two teams in the event. The two Istanbul clubs will clash in the semifinals, guaranteeing a Turkish team in the Final Four final for the fourth year in a row.
Adrien Moerman and Shane Larkin scored 18 points apiece to pace the winners, who completed a remarkable turnaround after finishing in last place one season ago.
Rodrigue Beaubois and James Anderson netted 11 points each and Vasilije Micic tallied 10 points, 10 assists and three steals in the victory.
Barcelona started hot and led by as many as seven points in the first half, but Efes finished the second quarter strong to lead 47-42 at the break and extended that margin to 11 in the fourth quarter before holding off a late rally.
Chris Singleton and Thomas Heurtel scored 12 points each for Barcelona and Ante Tomic added 10. Singleton also collected eight rebounds and three steals in defeat.
“I am proud of my players, I am proud of all Turkish fans, around 17,000 supporters in here. Many people could not come because there were no more tickets. I am sure everybody was in front of their televisions.”
Ataman said the atmosphere of the game was incredible.
“Tonight it was very difficult to beat us with these fans. Incredible atmosphere, I am so proud of my players. We made a great season. It was very difficult, it was very emotional for me. We will see at the Final Four, but now we will enjoy this, after 18 years Efes is in the Final Four and I am proud of this.”
“Fenerbahçe is the best team in Europe,” Ataman said.
“They have the best technical staff with coach Zeljko Obradovic. I hope all Turkish fans in Vitoria will enjoy this all-Turkish semifinal.”
“We fought the entire season, it is great for everybody and we are going to enjoy,” the French player said.
“This team is hungry. Every day we practice hard. When we lose we are mad, we come back to the court every day. All the players are amazing, it is great to play with them.”