Pınar Karşıyaka clinches basketball league title, beating Istanbul giants
Pınar Karşıyaka players celebrate the league title that came after 28 years of thirst. DHA photoİzmir’s Pınar Karşıyaka beat Anadolu Efes, 85-71, late on June 19 to become winners of the 2014-15 Turkish Basketball League (TBL) in the fifth game of the playoff series at the Abdi İpekçi Sports Hall in Istanbul, marking the club’s second ever championship after 28 years.
The triumph caps a historic season for Head Coach Ufuk Sarıca, a former Efes player, as his team defeated Banvit and Fenerbahçe Ülker on its way to the Spor Toto Play-Off Finals.
Dominating the game especially in the third quarter, Pinar Karşıyaka won the series 4-1.
"To be league champion this year is a fantastic accomplishment," Sarıca said. "We chased after our dreams. We reached this day believing in ourselves."
Karşıyaka's Colombian center Juan Palacios was red-hot as he scored 22 points and took 10 rebounds. U.S. guard D. J. Strawberry tallied 19 points, while playmaker Bobby Dixon, power forward Kenny Gabriel and U.S. shooting guard Jon Diebler reached double digits.
Anadolu Efes' Greek small forward Stratos Perperoglou was his team's top scorer with 18 points. He was followed by French point guard Thomas Heurtel having 14 points; however, their individual efforts were not enough to win the match.
Karşıyaka playmaker guard Dixon was picked as "the Most Valuable Player" of the finals. The point guard had 13 points in the Game 5 win and averaged 21 points throughout the series. He also took home the award for most three-pointers, which came with a prize of 10,000 TL courtesy of TBL Sponsor ParaMara.
"I worked really hard," Dixon said after the win. "I tried to take not just myself but the team to a higher level. If not for my team I couldn't have achieved this. This is my first championship and I'm really happy."
Turkish Basketball Federation Chairman, Harun Erdenay handed the trophy to Pınar Karşıyaka players at the ceremony.
“I congratulate Pınar Karşıyaka’s management, coaches, players, and fans for this historic championship,” TBF President Harun Erdenay said. “This year marked the most competitive TBL season in league history, and throughout the Spor Toto TBL Play-Off Pınar Karşıyaka’s players thrilled basketball fans throughout Turkey and around the World.”
Fans and players of the İzmir side were jubilant, and celebrated the much-awaited victor.
Anadolu Efes, which has won a record 13 TBL Championships, won Game 1 at home 95-92 in overtime before Pınar Karşıyaka came storming back to win four straight.