Conscious of the importance of the occasion to their respective teams, many a player delivered outstanding performances on the final day of EuroChallenge Regular Season action.
Five of those players registered an efficiency rating of 33 or more, sufficient to make a solid case for claiming the last MVP title in the first phase of the competition.
But it’s hard to argue reasonably against someone who pulls out the big guns.
Bryan Hopkins and Port of Anwerp Giants entered the fourth quarter of their encounter with Hapoel Holon on Tuesday night trailing by one point, 58-57.
The American guard knew his team needed to win the game by 26 points to qualify to the Last 16 and, with time running out on the clock, decided to take matters into his own hands.
The 29-year-old pulled the trigger time and time again from three-point range and scored 24 points in the period, the highest mark within 10 minutes by any player in the EuroChallenge this season.
Hopkins finished with a personal-best 42 points on 12-of-23 from the floor (9-of-16 from beyond the arc), five assists and four steals.
The Giants ultimately fell seven points short of their target, winning 93-74, but it would not be an exaggeration to say that for the duration of that final quarter the ‘yes we can’ stance of Hopkins made approximately 2,500 people in the Antwerp arena dream that a comeback of biblical proportions was possible.
While earning EuroChallenge Week 6 MVP honours will be little consolation for Hopkins, the man who follows him on the efficiency index table has every reason to smile.
Szolonoki Olaj had to beat BC Timisoara at all costs on Tuesday and Ernests Kalve did everything possible to make sure they would come through when it mattered the most.
The Latvian forward went 13-for-21 from the floor to score 32 points and added eight rebounds, four assists and one block in his best performance of the season, leading Szolnoki to a 77-71 victory with an efficiency rating of 34.
Three players, Week 5 MVP Sean May of Paris Levallois, Ryan Thompson of Okapi Aalstar and Vladimir Tica of CSU Asesoft Ploiesti are right behind Kalve on the table this week, with a rating of 32.