Istanbul duo to meet in Euroleague

Istanbul duo to meet in Euroleague

Istanbul duo to meet in Euroleague

After beating Italy’s Mapooro Cantu, Fenerbahçe Ülker advanced to the Top 16 stage, where it will meet Istanbul rival Beşiktaş. AA photo

Fenerbahçe Ülker and Beşiktaş will renew their rivalry on the continental stage as the two Istanbul neighbors are placed in the same Turkish Airlines Euroleague group.

The two teams will meet in Group F of the Top 16 stage, with each hoping to make their way to the playoffs.

Apart from the two Turkish sides, title hopeful Barcelona Regal, Israeli powerhouse Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv, BC Khimki of Russia and Italy’s Montepaschi Siena are also in the same group, which will be completed with the addition of two teams.

The teams that finish second and fourth in the first round’s Group C will join the teams in Group F.
Another Turkish team, Anadolu Efes, is pitted in Group E and will face Spanish heavyweight Real Madrid, Russia’s CSKA Moscow, Panathinaikos from Greece and the German duo Alba Berlin and Brose Baskets. The Group C leader will also join the Group E.

The Group C leader will be decided with two matches scheduled to be played Dec. 14, with either Zalgiris Kaunas or Olympiacos taking the top spot in the group.

The Top 16 matches will start later this month and will continue until Apr. 5, 2013.

Fenerbahçe Ülker booked its place in the Top 16 stage Dec. 13, with a 77-69 victory over Mapooro Cantu.

In a do-or-die battle on the final day of Group A, Fenerbahçe Ülker won the game to grab the last remaining Top 16 spot from the group.

“It was an important game for us. We had to qualify for the Top 16,” Fenerbahçe Ülker’s Oğuz Savaş was quoted as saying on the Euroleague website. “We did what we had to do. We played hard. Now a tougher situation is waiting for us. We have to play this hard in every game. We have 14 games in front of us. Hopefully we can continue playing the way we did tonight in the Top 16.”

Final-like match

Fenerbahçe advanced with a 5-5 record, enough for the fourth place in the standings, while Cantu was eliminated with a 3-7 record.

“It was a kind of a final game for us,” Fenerbahçe Ülker coach Simone Pianigiani said. “Mapooro Cantu had an incredible game. They took advantage of every single mistake we made during the entire game. We used the advantage that we hade at halftime until the end of the game.

“We were in a very tough group and struggled with many injuries. Now we will take our time to think and plan our future.”

In the game, where neither team had a double-digit advantage, Fenerbahçe grabbed its first lead with an 8-0 run in the second quarter and never trailed again. McCalebb led the host with 19 points, Ömer Onan and Oğuz Savaş each scored 12.

“Congratulations to Fenerbahçe” Cantu Coach Andrea Trinchieri also said. “We are sad because our Euroleague journey is over. But I believe that we can walk out of our locker rooms with our heads up because we managed to play against a very good team.”