Beşiktaş, Banvit eye debut Turkish Cup win
KONYA - Hürriyet Daily News
Beşiktaş Milangaz guard Serhat Çetin (15) defends against Galatasaray’s Jamon Lucas Gordon during the two teams’ Spor Toto Turkish Cup game. Çetin sank a dramatic three-pointer to force the game into overtime and helped Beşiktaş get a memorable comeback win.Beşiktaş Milangaz and Banvit will play in the Spor Toto Turkish Cup final on Feb. 18, hoping to claim their debut victory.
Both teams failed in their previous attempts to win the top-level domestic cup competition in Turkish basketball, so one of them will end its drought after the final in the central Anatolian province of Konya. The two finalists had to overcome strong sides to book their spot in the title game. Beşiktaş Milangaz advanced to the final after an overtime victory against Galatasaray Medical Park on Feb. 16, while Banvit knocked Anadolu Efes out of the competition in the other semifinal match the same day.
Beşiktaş Milangaz had a late rally to come from 10 points behind its archrival, and even enjoyed a buzzer-beating three-point shot to equalize the game and force it to overtime.
After the regular time ended 64-64, Beşiktaş Milangaz was completely dominant in the overtime, beating Galatasaray Medical Park 76-69.
Puerto Rican point guard Carlos Arroyo, who was signed in December after superstar Deron Williams returned to the New Jersey Nets with the ending of the NBA lockout, shone with 24 points while Serhat Çetin, who scored the game-tying three-pointer, finished with 13 points.
“It was worthy of a derby,” Beşiktaş Milangaz coach Ergin Ataman said after the game. “We won a tough game that seemed to be sliding from our hands.”
Battle for title
He added that his team will be gunning for the title now. “We want to win the trophy. I call on Beşiktaş fans to come and support us in Konya. We have shown what we can do as a team tonight. Now is the time for unity. We will battle hard for the title.”
Ataman’s remarks about unity come after he has come under fire from Beşiktaş fans. He was criticized for taking the board’s side when fans chanted against the administration of chairman Yıldırım Demirören. There were several messages in social media criticizing Ataman for not allowing players to salute the crowd after a league victory.
Banvit beat the odds to upset Anadolu Efes, who is leading the Beko Basketball League by a long distance, 76-67 also on Feb. 17.
Banvit, hailing from the Bandırma district of Balıkesir, is having its best season and is chasing a quarterfinal berth in the Eurocup, the second-tier European competition.
Charles Davis scored 14 points, and five Banvit players in total scored in double digits. Anadolu Efes guard Cenk Akyol’s 18 points were not enough to save the Istanbul heavyweight.
“It is so important for us to advance to the final,” said Orhun Ene, who is also the coach of the Turkish national men’s basketball team. “Now we aim to win the trophy. Anadolu Efes had some injured players, but I believe we would have won even if they played with a full squad,” he added confidently.
Banvit lost to Efes in the 2007 final, its only final appearance up to now.
Beşiktaş Milangaz, last year’s runner-up after Fenerbahçe Ülker, lost in the 1971 and 1973 finals as well. k HDN