Happy Casa Brindisi vs Virtus Segafredo Bologna vs Virtus Segafredo Bologna: 78-75
(Q1 13 – 17; Q2 37 – 40; Q3 55 – 53)
Virtus Segafredo Bologna: Belinelli 11, Pajola 3, Alibegovic 1, Markovic 6, Ricci , Adams, Hunter 6, Weems 9, Teodosic 29, Gamble 11, Abass 2.
Happy Casa Brindisi: Bostic 10, Zanelli 2, Harrison 15, Visconti, Gaspardo 14, Thompson 11, Cattapan, Udom 4, Bell 7, Perkins 5, Willis 7.
Referees: Manuel MAZZONI, Mark BARTOLI, Denny BORGIONI.
The same quintet chosen by Coach Djordjevic as in game 2 that begins with a Gamble dunk that opens the game. Harrison and Thompson score the first lead for the home team, even though they don’t score much at the start. Teodosic allows Segafredo to go back in front with a three-point play with 4′ left in the first quarter. Teams soon run out of bonuses and there’s a lot of trips to the line: Pajola makes it 10-9, then Gaspardo ties it up. They only score from the line, until Harrison’s triple that closes the first period at 13-17. Harrison and Bell open the second 10′, giving Happy Casa +9 and forcing Segafredo to timeout. Teodosic and Gamble unlock the black-and-white attack, after the +11 guest lead. Virtus gets back in touch with its center’s baskets (28-29 at the half). Harrison again from the arc brings Brindisi back to +7 but Markovic and Gamble make a 4-0 partial. Thompson’s triple gives offensive life back to the Apulian team that goes back to +6, before Teodosic’s free throws that sends the teams to rest at 37-40. Teodosic opens the second half but Gaspardo responds from the other side. Weems gets unblocked from the arc, then makes the new -2 on 44-46 at 5′ to the end of the third quarter. Weems again with a counterpunch ties the score, Abass from the line allows Virtus to get back on top. Hunter’s turn around scores +4, Udom responds but the game remains in balance. The last possession of the quarter is for the black-and-whites: Alibegovic misses the winning tap-in and at 10′ to go the V’s are ahead 55-53. Belinelli, after scoring only from the line, breaks free from the arc, Bostic responds and Brindisi ties the game again at 58 after 2′. Vitucci’s team goes back ahead by three; Belinelli in transition ties, Teodosic gives the advantage back to the black and whites on 64-62 at the half. The game doesn’t want to have an owner: Bostic brings Brindisi’s lead back to +3, Teodosic penetrates and scores but Gaspardo does the same in the other half. Teodosic ties the score again at 69-69 three laps of the clock from the end. The intensity is always high, with the bonus exhausted for both: Teodosic makes 2/2 from the line, Hunter emulates him and with 2′ to go Segafredo goes up by 5 (74-69). The game is tense all the way to the end, Brindisi makes mistakes, on the other side Segafredo with experience takes fouls and closes it from the line. It ends 78-75, Virtus returns to the Scudetto Final after 14 years.
The words of Patron Massimo Zanetti interviewed by the press at the Segafredo Arena: “We’re happy because what we do we do for the city and the fans, and this is the right day to enter the final, with the return of the public on the stands. We’ve been there before, we’ve finally won this one. I have to thank the work done by Luca Baraldi and Paolo Ronci: they are the ones who work to get to these results. And then there was the determination of our coach and of the whole team. We’ll see what happens in the final, and it will certainly be tough against Milan. But I’ve seen a team with determination, one that has won the last six games. In the meantime, let’s enjoy this result, the final has been missing for so long for Virtus.”
Djordjevic: “It’s not easy in a playoff semifinal to win three in a row against a team that has done so well this year. Again rebounds for us would have been the key to the game, they were the top team for offensive rebounds. Everyone contributed. The pressure was on us today, Brindisi played with pride, like a great team; we were able to stay in the game even when we went down in the score. We had good reads even though we could have put the ball more under the basket. Milos Teodosic played an extraordinary game, he is a leader, he came in and colored our game. I was pleased with the concentration and approach of Abass and Weems, who today found what we need from him. Belinelli scored a couple of baskets in a key moment thanks to his skill. We need to improve some one-on-one if we want to improve further. The crowd’s chorus at the end was beautiful. I congratulate my guys, they never gave up.”