Turkish basketball playoffs set to tip off
DHA PhotoThe Turkish Basketball League (TBL) playoffs get underway on May 20, as third seed Darüşşafaka Doğuş welcomes Trabzonspor Medical Park to Ayhan Şahenk Arena with tip-off scheduled for 6:45 p.m. local time and second seed Anadolu Efes hosts Türk Telekom at Istanbul’s Abdi İpekçi Arena.
The playoff action will continue on May 21, when Izmir-based Pınar Karşıyaka will take on Banvit.
Regular season champion Fenerbahçe Ülker, fresh off its first ever trip to the Euroleague Final Four, will welcome arch rival Galatasaray Liv Hospital to Ülker Sport Arena. The TBL quarterfinals follow a best-of-three format, with the winner advancing to the semi-finals.
“This year marked the most competitive TBL regular season in history,” TBF President Harun Erdenay said. “The fight for the playoffs came down to the season’s final day, and I expect an entirely different level of fun and excitement in this year’s playoffs.”
Five teams - Trabzonspor Medical Park, Türk Telekom, Banvit, Galatasaray Liv Hospital, and Beşiktaş Integral Forex - entered the final day of the regular season on May 24 boasting 15-14 records looking to earn one of the last four playoff spots.
By day’s end, the Eagles were on the outside looking in, while Ergin Ataman’s squad snatched the last playoff spot despite suffering an 84-88 overtime loss to Rönesans TED Ankara Kolejliler.
“Our goal is for the TBL to be the undisputed best league in Europe,” TBL Director Samer Şenbayrak said. “Some of the world’s top basketball players will be taking the court in these playoffs, and I invite all of our fans to follow the elite competition about to unfold.”
Zeljko Obradovic’s Fenerbahçe Ülker squad is the defending TBL champion and enters the playoffs as the favorite. Euroleague MVP Nemanja Bjelica and Euroleague rising star Bogdan Bogdanovic lead the Canaries.
Point guard Andrew Goudelock is also a lethal scoring threat, averaging 11.3 points per game.
Perhaps the hottest team entering the playoffs is Trabzonspor Medical Park. Led by high-scoring guard Dwight Hardy, the club finished the regular season on a six-game winning streak to climb up the standings and force its way into the playoffs.
Dusan Ivkovic’s Anadolu Efes squad features two of Europe’s top young talents in Dario Saric and Cedi Osman. Looking for its first championship since the 2008-2009 season, Efes hoisted the Royal Halı Turkish Cup on Feb. 22 in Gaziantep with a 70-60 win over Fenerbahçe Ülker.
The 2014-2015 season has been a banner year for Turkish clubs. Fenerbahçe Ülker went to Madrid for the Euroleague Final Four, while Banvit reached the semi-finals of the Eurocup and Trabzonspor reached the finals of the EuroChallenge. Turkey became the third country after Russia and Spain to send representatives to all three competitions’ final fours in the same year.