EuroLeague 1958 Final: ASK Riga become the first European champions

Among the important agreements of the First Conference of European and Mediterranean Coastal Nations, held in 1957 in Munich, the one referring to the organization of a European Champion Clubs’ Cup, originally proposed by the sports newspaper L’Equipe de Paris, stood out. The project, presented jointly by FIBA and the Czechoslovak Basketball Federation at the European Championship in Sofia, was approved at the Second Conference of European and Mediterranean Nations, held in Gauting (Germany) in December 1957

This was the birth of the first European Club Cup, which was initially going to be a tournament with only six teams, but in the end ended up bringing together twenty-three, distributed in four geographical groups to limit the duration of the championship and avoid unnecessary travel expenses. The first match in the history of the European Cup was played on 22 February 1958 between the Belgian team Royal Anderlecht and Luxembourg’s Etzella Ettelbruck in Brussels, with the former winning 82-43.

After the first phase there were eight teams that played the quarter-finals in a round-robin format. The quarter-finals were played by ASK RIGA against LEGIA, REAL MADRID against ANDERLECH, AKADEMIK against BUCHAREST and OLIMPIA MILAN against HONVED.

ASK Riga eliminated Legia (93-59); (63-61)
Real Madrid eliminated Anderlech (78-59); (57-43)
The Akademik eliminated Bucharest (64-73); (77-78)
The Honved eliminated the Olimpia Milan (80-72); (95-85)

In the semi-finals, also in a round-robin format, he pitted ASK RIGA against REAL MADRID and AKADEMIK against HONVED. In fact, only one semifinal was played, the one of Akademik vs Honved, because the other one was not played. Real Madrid refused to play against Riga due to a political boycott, so the elimination was given as a win to ASK due to the absence of the rival.

The Akademik eliminated the Honved (87-89); (76-64)
ASK Riga eliminated Real Madrid (2-0); (0-2)

Latvia’s ASK Riga and Bulgaria’s Akademik Sofia reached the final of the first European Cup. Given the huge interest in this match in both cities, the two matches in the final (first leg and second leg) were played outdoors in football stadiums with makeshift basketball courts set up on the pitch. In the first match of the final, played at Riga’s Daugava Stadium in front of 17,000 spectators and with a wooden court installed on the day of the match (so neither team was able to train on it to adapt to the new surface and hoops), ASK seemed to get used to the outdoor conditions better than their rivals, and by the halfway point of the first half they had already taken a considerable lead (37-17). The giant Latvian pivot Jānis Krūmiņš (2.20m) found little opposition from his defender Viktor Radev (1.96m), and the break came with a comfortable home advantage (52-36). In the second half, the Bulgarians managed to close the gap thanks to a pressing defence, even taking the lead in the 35th minute. However, ASK, encouraged by a boisterous crowd, took the initiative again in the final stretch of the game and took a five-point lead (86-81) to guarantee an exciting second leg in Sofia.

*V.Muiznieks – 15p, 2r.
*Hehts – 7p, 1r.
*G.Muiznieks – 9p, 4r.
*Jakovskis – 6p, 6r.
*Krumins – 27p, 13r.
Valdmanis – 11p, 2r.
Gulbis – 5p, 1r.
Kalherts – 4p, 2r.
Leonciks – 2p.

*Semov – 7p,
*L.Panov – 12p, 3r.
*Ilov – 9p, 2r.
*G.Panov – 18p, 4r.
*Radev – 18p, 5r.
Atanosov – 4p, 1r.
Emanuilov – 7p.
Stoimenov – 5p.
Dardov – 1p.

In the second leg, ASK Riga’s final victory was never in any real danger. Krumins with his big wingspan conditioned the whole game and everything revolved around him. Riga, which already had a five-point lead, was always ahead by about six points. So the Akademik had less and less time to react (31-39). In the second half Riga always played with the match tempo, the Akademik was never able to find enough reaction to try to reach the end with some chance of a title fight. ASK Riga thus became the first European Cup champions.

*Semov – 6p, 1r.
*L.Panov – 9p, 2r.
*Ilov – 11p, 4r.
*G.Panov – 13p, 6r.
*Radev – 19p, 6r.
Atanosov – 6p, 2r.
Emanuilov – 4p, 3r.
Stoimenov – 2p.
Dardov – 1p.

*V.Muiznieks – 17p, 3r.
*Hehts – 6p, 2r.
*G.Muiznieks – 11p, 4r.
*Jakovskis – 6p, 8r.
*Krumins – 13p, 14r.
Valdmanis – 15p, 2r.
Gulbis – 9p, 2r.
Kalherts – 4p, 1r.
Leonciks – 3p.

Salir de la versión móvil