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Defense and sacrifices led olimpia’s effort in a great 75-68 supercup-clinching win

Olimpia led basically wire to wire, after the initial Julian Gamble dunk, and won 75-68 over Virtus Bologna, leading the length of the game by as many as thirteen points and overcoming a lot of obstacles, including Vlade Micov early left elbow injury and a 8-point third quarter. Olimpia won its fourth Supercup after a tough road game because its defense was marvelous, efficient, and produced 13 steals on top of holding the Bologna superstar, Milos Teodosic, to a six-point, 2-for-13 shooting night. Malcolm Delaney won the MVP trophy, well-deserved for his semifinal effort, and a terrific first half which set the tone of the game, before a knee injury affected him in the second half. But the win was made possible by a great team effort, a lot of played did a lot of things, and the defense was outstanding one more time.

Virtus came back in the third quarter, within two at the end, but it wasn’t a terrific run, because Olimpia’s defense was all over the place. And when needed the offense made the right plays. Kevin Punter, who started the game with three straight mid-range jumpers, made five consecutive points early in the fourth, Gigi Datome had an outstanding night, covering the team for Jeff Brooks’ foul trouble at the 4 position, and finished with 17 points, scoring five consecutive points late in the fourth, to keep Virtus at a distance. And finally, Sergio Rodriguez closed the deal, with a huge three.

“It’s been a great win, I’m happy – Coach Ettore Messina said at the end – because we defeated a great team, and another great team was defeated in the semifinal game. It was a game of big sacrifices, our defense held two great players like Markovic and Teodosic well below their usual numbers, and in the end our guys made the winning plays, Kevin Punter, Gigi Datome was great, and Sergio Rodriguez closed the game. It was important what Malcolm Delaney did offensively early in the game, then he was affected by a knee problem. In this kind of games, you have to be able to prevent the other team from playing its own game, to avoid negative runs or offensive rebounds.” Kyle Hines with three steals and made all the switching effective. But it was really a great team effort.

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