The competition suffers three changes, the first is that the most important teams are exempt from a first crossing going directly to the round of 16 in direct qualifying format to round of matches. The second that eight teams qualify for the league, two more than in the past and the last and most important change is that from this year after the league no longer qualify the first two but the first four will qualify for a final four between them. Final format that is still valid today
Partizan eliminated Dozsa
The Aris of Thessaloniki eliminated the Pully Basket
Olimpia Milan eliminated BK Balkan
Maccabi eliminated Benfica
Barcelona eliminated Wroklaw
Saturn Koln eliminated Sodertalje and earlier in the run-up to Murray
Orthez eliminated Karsiyaka
Den Bosch knocked out Brno before Helsingin
The first final four in the history of the European Cup was held in the city of Gent in Belgium. On the one hand Aris of Thessaloniki against Olympia of Milan and on the other Partizan against Maccabi.
In the first semi-final, Milan’s Olimpia pulled off an ex officio and veteran to win a disputed match against an Aris of Thessaloniki who sold out their defeat. The key to Italy’s victory (87-82) was the portentous performance of his inner pair McAdoo and Brown, who managed to curb Gallis’ tremendous attacking power in defence to a certain extent.
OLIMPIA MILAN 87
ARIS SALONICA 82
In the first season in which the top European competition was played under the new format of Final Four, li ragazzi di Milano again won the European Cup for the second consecutive year. The «grandparents» D’Antoni, Premier, Brown, McAdoo and Meneghin, supported by youngsters like Pittis and Montecchi, showed again that, despite the years, their heart is still young to win titles. The «old lions» of the Tracer – with an average age of over 33 – thus put the icing on the cake for a dream year in which they had won the Italian League and Cup, two European Cups and an Intercontinental Cup.
The Maccabi was mentally prepared to finally defeat his particular «black beast». Jamchy, who began the match with two consecutive three pointers to bring the score to 2-8 for the Israeli champions within two minutes. After the Maccabi achieved a maximum difference of seven points (6-13), Casalini decided to resort to a zone 2-3 to try to stop the outer throws of the set macabeo. Jamchy – who with the 11-15 had already achieved ten points – lost its effectiveness when Aldi went out to track to deal with its defense. La Tracer showed the highest quality of their squad – all their players had already scored – and in this way managed to first equalise the score (17-17, min. 9), and then get ahead (21-20, min. 10). The Italian side were clearly superior under the hoops, with a Meneghin completely annulling Magee, and when D’Antoni decided to let go of the wrist beyond the 6.25 line the Tracercerc began to take off on the scoreboard to reach a maximum difference of eleven points (48-37, min. 18). To make matters worse, with five seconds to go before the break Magee committed his fourth personal foul as a child, and Maccabi withdrew to the dressing room with a significant deficit on the scoreboard (52-41) and with his inner game seriously compromised.
The set Milan achieved its maximum advantage at the start of the second half (55-41, min. 22), taking advantage of Magee’s absence on track to carry out an aggressive individual defense. However, a spirited reaction from Maccabi, based on a 1-2-2 zone, managed to bring the table macabeo on the scoreboard. Barlow just lost respect for his «idol» McAdoo, Sims marked the tempo of the game and Berkowitz brought his experience. The Israelis – cheered on by their own fans and also by those of Aris – came within two points (69-67), although by then they had already lost Magee (eliminated just a minute after returning to track). D’Antoni abused the triple throw with little success, while Meneghin, with foul problems, could no longer defend as in the first half. After touching the tie on several occasions, Maccabi finally managed to equal the scoreboard in the 34th minute with a psychologically perfect play: Berkowitz basket and additional free kick after Meneghin’s fifth personal foul. However, it was at that moment that the wisdom and experience of the Milan players, who had fought a thousand battles, emerged. Franco Casalini’s men, after gaining a minimum advantage of four points (84-80, min. 38), were dedicated to hurrying their attacks and securing defensive rebounds, against a Maccabi who rushed and missed crucial free throws. With 53 seconds left, with 87-82 on the scoreboard, Brown blocked a shot by Jamchy in a decisive move for the luck of the match, and in the subsequent attack McAdoo certified with a mate Milan victory (89-82).
OLIMPIA MILAN 90