EuroLeague Final 1981: After the controversy, Maccabi becomes champion

por Roberto Anidos publicado en 1981 Decade 80 EuroLeague Maccabi Tel Aviv Virtus Bolonia

In Group A, Real Madrid dominated from start to finish. Lugano’s Viganello, Egypt’s Al-Zamalek and Portugal’s Porto were just stone combidados in this first phase. The whites were far superior and the qualification to the league was never in danger

1. REAL MADRID   (6-0)
2. VIGANELLO   (3-3)
3. AL-ZAMALEK   (2-4)
4. FC PORTO   (1-5)
In group B Maccabi had more problems than expected to finish first group. A great equality reigned and both the French Tours and the Panathinaikos sold expensive their classification.
1. MACCABI   (4-2)
2. TOURS   (3-3)
In Group C, KK Bosna did not miss their group date. The Honved of Budapest dreamed about the classification but in the end the ones of Sarajevo were superior.
1. KK BOSNA   (5-1)
3. WIEN   (3-3)
4. STEVNSGADE   (0-6)
In Group D the Bologna Virtus gave no choice and remained unbeaten throughout the first phase and showed signs of being at a high level for the league.
2. CSKA SOFIA   (2-4)
3. ECZACIBASI   (2-4)
4. PARTIZANI   (2-4)
Den Bosch are another side that will not miss the chance to repeat the group stage. It wasn’t easy for them because the Irish from BC Murray fought to the end to make history.
1. DEN BOSCH   (5-1)
2. MURRAY BC   (4-2)
3. SLOVNAFT   (3-3)
4. HAGEBY   (0-6)
In Group F, CSKA gave their opponents no choice, and without losing a game, they qualified for the group with brilliance.
1. CSKA MOSCU   (6-0)
3. WROKLAW   (2-4)
4. PANTTERIT   (1-5)
After qualifying, the group begins with Real Madrid, Maccabi, Virtus Bologna, KK Bosna, CSKA Moscow and Den Bosch. After ten rounds, Bologna Virtus finished top (7-3). Maccabi came in at the last minute after a tough battle with the revelation of the year alongside Italy’s Den Bosch. It was a very close group with a lot of alternatives. Real Madrid did not have their year and with more defeats than victories (4-6) never had the opportunity to fight to be in the final.
2. MACCABI ELITE   (6-4)
3. DEN BOSCH   (5-5)
4. KK BOSNA   (4-6)
5. REAL MADRID   (4-6)
6. CSKA MOSCU   (4-6)

The grand final of the European Cup was held in the Rhenus Hall in Strasbourg, France. Facing the Bologna Virtus against Maccabi Tel Aviv.  In which the Tel Aviv Maccabi won its second European Cup in a match with a controversial final. A lack of attack of Bonamico on Boatwright that only saw the main referee Van der Willige -authentic protagonist of the choque- and a few clear steps of Berkowitz then made possible the macabeo triumph in an intense and equal match that, if any team deserved to win, that was the Sinudyne. However, the Italians noticed in excess the absence of their star Jim McMillan, recently operated on meniscus.

Thanks to the good work of Villalta (a colossus in the rebounds) and Bonamico (huge Italian forward in the first twenty minutes, with 8 out of 10 in two shots for a total of 20 points), the Bolognese took off on the scoreboard, and near the break and gained a considerable advantage (25-34, min. 17). Rudy d’Amico was forced to vary his individual defence by a 1-3-1 zone to ensure the rebound, and so Maccabi was able to close the gap before half-time (37-39, with a final Valenti basket annulled by Van der Willige as out of time).

In the second half, the Israelis came out in a tromba, with Berkowitz taking advantage of the hard blocks on their pivots to achieve good pitching positions, and Maccabi came to clearly dominate (53-43). However, Perry committed his fourth personal foul and had to sit on the bench, which allowed the Bologna side to spectacularly turn the scoreline and open a small gap (55-61). But Perry’s return to the field, as well as his team’s switch to a zonal defence to protect him, made the score equal again (61-61). However, returning the lanky pivot macabeo to track and falling eliminated was all one, and at that time it was Williams who decided to take responsibility for his team, especially in the rebound aspect, which allowed Maccabi to take a slight advantage (74-70).

In this situation of great equality, Berkowitz scores two free throws and places the scoreboard at 78-75 for Maccabi with 40 seconds left, but Cantamessi returns the emotion with another basket missing only 27 seconds. Despite the macabeo team trying to hold the ball, Berkowitz commits a foul in attack when Martini and Valenti close the pass near the touchline. The Sinudyne puts the ball in play from the center of the field to win the match, Bonamico tries to penetrate the baseline and the main referee Van der Willige fouls him in attack by a seemingly innocuous contact with Boatwright (who renounces free kicks). Sinudyne presses Maccabi’s throw-in, but gets lost in the markings and Berkowitz receives the ball alone in the pigeon position, although before going into the basket he commits some clear steps that the Dutch referee does not point out. After Berkowitz’s basket, the Maccabi is already a distance to an insurmountable 80-77 with few seconds left (despite a basket of Martini on the horn that, once again, the illustrious Van der Willige annulled).

Maccabi Electra

*Aroesti – 5p, 2a.
*Berkowitz – 21p, 2r.
*Silver – 6p, 3r.
*Perry – 16p, 14r.
*Williams – 20p, 10r.
Boatwright – 12p, 7r.
Zysman – 0p.
Schwartz – 0p, 1r.
Virtus Bologna

*Caglieris – 7p, 3r.
*Valenti – 4p, 2r.
*Bonamico – 26p, 5r.
*Villalta – 19p, 13r.
*Marquinhos – 13p, 12r.
Cantamessi – 4p, 1r.
Martini – 2p, 3r.
Generali – 4p.