EuroLeague Final 1993: Maljkovic’s Limoges jump the bench

por Roberto Anidos publicado en 1993 Benetton Treviso Decade 90 EuroLeague Limoges
Only CSKA Moscow could not be in the regular league in the qualifiers. The rest did not fail to his appointment to assault the most open European Cup title in recent years

In the sixteenth
Partizan as champion, Joventut and Benetton Treviso were exempt from disputing it
Real Madrid eliminated CSKA Sofia
Scavolini eliminated Wroclaw
Estudiantes eliminated Prague
Bologna Virtus eliminated Budivelnik
Bayern Leverkusen eliminated Riga
PAOK eliminated Red Star
Olympiacos eliminated Union Olimpija
Limoges eliminated Guildford
Pau Orthez eliminated Ephes Pilsen
La Cibona eliminated Helsingin
Zadar eliminated CSKA Moscow
Maccabi eliminated Benfica
Maes Pils eliminated Hapoel Tel Aviv
After the crossings group A gave us a great duel in which PAOK Greek finished as leader, seconded by Limoges and Scavolini. Virtus Bologna and Joventut opted for the fourth place, the last one that classified you to the playoff, with the Italians finally qualifying thanks to the average.
1. PAOK   (8-4)
2. LIMOGES   (7-5)
3. SCAVOLINI   (7-5)
5. JOVENTUT   (6-6)
6. CIBONA   (5-7)
7. MACCABI   (3-9)
In group B, Real Madrid de Sabonis and Benetton de Kukoc took the top positions. Olympiacos and a surprising Pau Orthez occupied the last two places of the playoff.
1. REAL MADRID   (12-2)
3. OLYMPIACOS   (8-6)
4. PAU ORTHEZ   (8-6)
6. ZADAR   (5-9)
7. ESTUDIANTES   (4-10)
8. MAES PILS   (1-13)
After the regular league the playoffs to the title are the following: PAOK against PAU ORTHEZ, LIMOGES against OLYMPIACOS, REAL MADRID against VIRTUS DE BOLONIA and the Italian duel BENETTON TREVISO against SCAVOLINI.
(56-76); (79-58)
(86-103); (81-65)
(70-67); (59-53); (60-58)
(94-92); (101-94); (77-58)

The four final was held this year in Athens so the PAOK played at home. The semifinals pitted Benetton against PAOK in a semifinal that was presumed very equal and on the other hand the favorite in all bets Real Madrid against Limoges of Maljkovic that in principle did not count in any betting community. Kukoc for the transalpinos and Sabonis for the whites hoarded all the spotlights and everyone was waiting for a final between them.

The first semi-final between PAOK and Benetton did not disappoint anyone. The Greeks came out stronger, theirs were always the advantages from the beginning. Thanks to the Prelevic trident, Barlow and Levingston, the PAOK had more and more aspirations to play in the final. But little by little the Italians took control of the match and in the final sprint of the first half they put land in between. The second half was a continuous attempt of recovery by the Hellenes, although the Italians suffered to win the truth is that they always managed to maintain their advantages even if they were minimal. A great Rusconi and the couple Iacopini and Kukoc were the protagonists to achieve it.

Benetton Treviso
*Mian – 3p, 2a.
*Teagle – 9p, 4r.
*Kukoc – 15p, 6a.
*Rusconi – 23p, 12r.
*Vianini – 7p, 8r.
Iacopini – 17p, 2r.
Ragazzi – 5p, 2r.
Pellacani – 0p, 1r.
Piccoli – 0p.
Scarone – 0p.


PAOK   77
*Korfas – 12p, 4a.
*Prelevic – 21p, 3r.
*Levingston – 18p, 6r.
*Barlow – 14p, 10r.
*Fassoulas – 9p, 13r.
Boudouris – 3p, 3r.
Fillipou – 0p, 1r.
Balogiannis – 0p.
Kouklakis – 0p.
Mamatziolas – 0p.
The next match saw one of the biggest surprises in the history of the competition. An imperial Real Madrid until this match wrote one of its most bitter pages in its history. Maljkovic’s Limoges posed a very tight match, ultra defensive and with very long possessions. A game that left Real Madrid totally knocked out. Sabonis was the only one who pulled a certain pride, the rest were very far from showing their level. Young and Dacoury put the offensive game for the French and the rest exercised a defense that left the Spanish in 52 points. Maljkovic’s men were in the final the surprise had been consummated.
*Zdovc – 5p, 5a.
*Young – 20p, 6r.
*Dacoury – 14p, 3r.
*Bilba – 4p, 9r.
*Redden – 6p, 11r.
Forte – 9p, 2a.
Verove – 0p, 3r.
Butter – 4p, 1r.
M`Bahia – 0p, 4r.
Dupraz – 0p.
Real Madrid
*Antunez – 2p, 3a.
*Biriukov – 10p, 1r.
*Cargol – 8p, 4r.
*Brown – 6p, 7r.
*Sabonis – 19p, 14r.
A.Martin – 5p, 4r.
Lasa – 2p, 1a.
Santos – 0p, 2r.
Romay – 0p, 1t.
Silva – 0p.

In the Athens final, one of the teams with the biggest budget in Europe (the Benetton of Kukoč, Teagle and Rusconi) and one of the most modest teams (Limoges, which instead of stars had basketball «currantes» like Zdovc, Redden and Butter, but had a charismatic coach like Maljković, who had already won two European Cups with Jugoplastika) had been planted. In this tessitura, all the bets clearly favored the Italians, but during the course of the game the reality was another…

The truth is that, for many basketball fans, the final between Limoges and Benettons served to establish a before and after in the European League, as the victory of the French was based on an extreme defensive game that sought to annul the rival above all and long attacks to exhaust possession. It is what from then on was known as «anti-basketball» or «basket muermo», which – to the dismay of many fans – came to be established in the European finals as the preferred method to achieve victory. The poor final score (59-55) says it all.

And that the Benetton began thrown, with a Terry Teagle star plan (scored 11 of the first 15 points of his team), and the French were forced to play contrary to their style, ie the race and shooting fast and without position. Young couldn’t get one right and Zdovc was unable to impose the pace that suited Limoges best. However, the French’s defensive play did work, and this prevented the Italians from escaping too much on the scoreboard (8-19, min. 12), even at the cost of quickly charging with personal fouls. In fact, Benetton’s top star, Kukoč, overwhelmed by Zdovc’s marking (15 centimetres lower than the Croatian forward!), did not score his first basket in play until the seventh minute of the second half. Despite Limoges taking a whopping 13 minutes to reach ten points, Maljković remained calm and continued to rely on their team’s exceptional defence, and with a patient and orderly game the French managed to narrow differences to establish an acceptable score at half-time (22-28). It seemed almost a miracle that Limoges, with horrible first-half throwing percentages (1 out of 7 in three pointers, to end the match with a disastrous 3 out of 20), could retreat to the locker room with all their options intact.

In the second period everything continued along the same lines, and even Benetton went ten points clear (29-39, min. 27). It seemed that the Italian team’s victory would be undeniable. However, in the blink of an eye, Limoges cut differences from the hand of a phenomenal Jim Bilba, and even took the lead for the first time in the match thanks to a Young basket (44-43, min. 32). The French players began to grow from that moment, while the Italians began to lose their roles. Only Kukoč, with three pointers, managed to keep his team afloat. Until the end of the match, Limoges continued to defend with intensity and kept calm when it came to the line of free throws. Although Benetton tied the match with a triple of Kukoč with one minute to go (55-55), two negative actions of the Croatian forward (a personal foul on Bilba and later a loss of the ball) ended up condemning his team. Bilba and Zdovc did not fail in the «1+1»- something that Teagle did in the absence of eight seconds with 59-55 on the score- and Limoges was won with a victory as unexpected as deserved.

At the end of the game, there were opinions for all tastes. Skansi commented: «Basketball died this afternoon. We came here to play a basketball game and we came across a wrestling match. It was the triumph of anti-basketball. Of very different opinion was Maljković: «Let my friend Skansi leave me at Kukoč and take the player of mine who wants and we’ll see who practices anti-basketball. He knows, because he was my second, that we played brilliantly in Jugoplastika. And also in Barcelona. The only thing I do is to adapt myself to the human group that I have».

*Zdovc – 9p, 3a, 1r.
*Verove – 3p, 2r.
*Young – 18p, 7r, 2br.
*Bilba – 15p, 8r, 2br.
*Redden – 6p, 10r, 1a.
Forte – 4p, 2a, 2br.
Dacoury – 3p, 4r.
Butter – 1p, 4r, 1a.
Benetton Treviso
*Mian – 5p, 3r, 3a.
*Teagle – 19p, 4r, 2br.
*Kukoc – 14p, 5r, 3a.
*Rusconi – 13p, 15r.
*Vianini – 2p, 3r.
Iacopini – 2p, 4r.
Pellacani – 0p, 3r.
Scarone – 0p.