EuroLeague 1962 Final: Tbilisi’s physical strength was matched by Real Madrid’s quality

por Roberto Anidos publicado en 1962 Decade 60 EuroLeague Real Madrid Tbilisi

The competition starts with 24 teams, which will have to pass two previous rounds in a roundtrip format, after which there will be 8 survivors who will play the quarterfinals. CSKA Moscow was exempted from playing these rounds

In the previous round
Real Madrid eliminated Varese
The Antwerpse eliminated the Bagnolet
The Olympics eliminated the Heidelberg
The Legia eliminated the Toverit
Darussafaka eliminated Hapoel Tel Aviv
The Iskra eliminated the Honved
Dinamo Tbilisi eliminated Steaua Bucharest

The quarter-finals were played in a round-robin format and pitted CSKA MOSCOW against ISKRA, DYNAMO TBILISI against DARUSSAFAKA, OLIMPIJA against ANTWERPSE and REAL MADRID against LEGIA.

CSKA Moscow eliminated Iskra (85-53); (57-55)
Dinamo Tbilisi eliminated Darussafaka (67-80); (84-49)
The Olympics eliminated the Antwerpse (87-83); (90-56)
Real Madrid eliminated Legia (73-62); (100-71)

In the semi-finals, also in a round-robin format, REAL MADRID faced OLIMPIJA and CSKA MOSCU faced DINAMO TBILISI.

Real Madrid eliminated Olimpija (105-91); (69-53)
Dinamo Tbilisi eliminated CSKA Moscow (71-75); (77-66)

Despite the fact that the Soviet basketball federation had lodged a protest with FIBA about having to play the final in a single match on neutral territory (instead of a round trip, as stipulated in the rules of the competition), because Franco’s regime did not maintain political relations with the USSR and did not allow Soviet teams to enter Spain or the Spaniards to travel to Russian territory, finally that skilful negotiator Raimundo Saporta managed to convince the authorities of the communist country with his arguments (and also with an economic compensation of 2. 000 dollars).

The technical conditions in the skating rink in Geneva were not ideal for the dispute of a European Cup final, with an irregular parquet floor and anachronistic wooden boards. Although many Swiss and Spanish fans flocked to the pavilion, there were only three quarters of the entry. From the opening whistle, it was clear that Dinamo Tbilisi were a better team than Real Madrid, both physically (an average height of 1.97m compared to 1.87m for Whites) and in terms of individual technique. The 2-3 zone designed by Pedro Ferrándiz -and sometimes an individual defence with flotation- managed to keep an even score during the first half, although the Georgian team always gave the impression of dominating the game, with a uniform rhythm throughout the match, individual defence and a 1-3-1 attack in which the ball moved more than the men. Dinamo had a maximum lead of seven points in the first half (34-27, min. 15), but a final reaction from Real Madrid, led by an inspired Hightower, reduced the deficit to two points at half-time (38-36).

At the restart, the Whites managed to maintain the equality to 50-50 (min. 24), but Hightower’s fourth personal foul and the subsequent elimination by five personnel of Lluis weighed heavily on Ferrándiz’s men. Without their captain and galvanizer of game, the players of Real Madrid began to act in individualistic plan, whereas the Georgians continued with their incredible percentages of outer shot (near 80%) – face in which they excelled especially Ugrekhelidze and Kiladze – since the zonal defense of Madrid allowed the distant shots. However, it was during this period that the Madrid players made their most brilliant moves, especially on the counter-attack. Faced with huge opposition from the Georgian towers Lezhava and Petrov, Hightower and Morrison tried to get out of the bulb to take shots in suspension. Although Dinamo managed to overcome the psychological barrier of a ten-point lead (77-66, 85-74), three consecutive baskets by Morrison, Hightower and Sainz served to narrow the score again (85-80, min. 39). However, Hightower’s fifth personal foul thereafter was already too heavy for the Madridistas, and the Georgian side had no trouble maintaining their lead and claiming victory.

*Minashvili – 9p, 2r.
*Kiladze – 14p, 3r.
*Altabaev – 17p, 5r.
*Intskirveli – 3p, 9r.
*Lezhava – 16p, 12r.
Petrov – 12p, 6r.
Ugrekhelidze – 14p, 2r.
Khazaradze – 2p.
Moseshvili – 3p, 1r.
Gogelia – 0p.

*Lluis – 5p, 1r.
*Sevillano – 11p, 3r.
*Emiliano – 21p, 2r.
*Hightower – 30p, 7r.
*Morrison – 12p, 6r.
Sainz – 4p, 2r.
Alocen – 0p, 1r.
Decartin – 0p.