Wins and new Club record in playoffs: Virtus looking ahead to semifinals
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Wins and new Club record in playoffs: Virtus looking ahead to semifinals

Bologna –

 

Protagonist a year ago of an epic scudetto final, the play-off seems the tailor-made suit for today’s Virtus. Of the current year of much grace, leaving aside for a moment the historic European success, in terms of the championship alone it is not so much the position that is surprising as the evolution of a team that has been flying for five months. Never or almost never defeated in Italy in the entire 2022, Segafredo comes to the semifinals with an open streak of 13 straight playoff successes: 10 last season, 3 this season. Beyond the Sassarese trip, the memory of a real defeat slips much further back, to overtime in the Milan challenge last Jan. 5, and on the 40-minute mark it should even go back to the Halloween zone, with the PalaFerraris reversal against Tortona on Oct. 30, 202. And now the semifinal again with the Piedmontese, after the week with no contests to enjoy on merit. Exhausted by the Iliad of 7 outings in 15 days, a new series now opens up for Virtus to face cleansed of Eurocup adrenaline and “with all the players on board,” as Sergio Scariolo stressed at the end of Game 3 in Pesaro.

For the classic liturgies of the season, it must be said that until that early January challenge in Assago, the Black V were conceding, in the coin, almost 81 points while allowing opponents 43% from the field, 36% from three and 48% from two. From there on, the points conceded dropped by 5 lengths (75), the percentage from the field dropped to 40%, the percentage from three to 31%, and the percentage from two to 47%. Returning full-handed from the first three of the post season, here the points conceded even sank below 61. True defense, rough, mean, fought on many trenches: from the perimeter to the area, from the physicality of individuals to the backbone of the group, sharing thoughts and strategies that lap up Sergio Scariolo with his supplied staff. And he, generalissimo with his chest swollen with medals just implemented with the only one missing the European club triumph, has already brought two trophies on the HCL seasonal bandwagon, entering the small circle of Virtus multiple winners within the same year. Thus, after the 1983/84 Scudetto and Coppa Italia double, the 1989/90 Coppa Italia and Cup Winners’ Cup, the 1997/98 Euroleague and Scudetto, the 2000/01 grand slam, the 2016/17 Legadue Coppa Italia and Legadue Championship, here is the 2021/22 Supercup with Eurocup. Momentarily. In this storming edition even the bench took the stage in the first round of the playoffs, offering a decisive and more spread out contribution with a points ratio between starting five and back up of climbed to 1.2 compared to 1.5 in season, therefore less unbalanced towards the starters. Mannion, Alibegovic and Tessitori, but also Hervey, gave important answers, also allowing the team to arrive fresh to gash challenges in the second half against Pesaro. The journey has been clear, linear, of decent punctuality especially now, as we enter a phase of selective games.