Budivelnyk wins Ukraine Superleague

Budivelnyk Kyiv has been crowned the champions of the Ukraine Superleague after concluding a thrilling finals series with an 82-70 win over Azovmash Mariupol.

Budivelnyk finished the Superleague regular season in first place and made it through the play-offs with series wins against Hoverla (4-0) and HalyChyna (4-0). Azovmash finished 3rd in the Superleague and also made serene progress through the play-offs with a 4-1 series win over BC Donetsk and a 4-0 win over Ferro-ZNTU.

The relatively easy passage through the play-offs ended abruptly for both teams as they clashed in a final series that went to the wire. Over the first six games both traded blows until they entered this decisive game level with three games each. However, in the title deciding match up it was Budivelnyk who found an extra gear and powered to Superleague glory.

From the firs tip-off the Budivelnyk players were more alert and immediately put Azovmash under pressure; springing from the blocks Budivelnyk notched up 28 points during the first quarter while in response their rivals could only post 19 points. The second half went much the same way as Budivelnyk exerted more pressure on Azovmash by hitting 30 more points to lead by 19 at the midway buzzer with the scores at 58:39.

At that point in proceedings there was a very good chance that Azovmash would be overwhelmed and that a grittier performance was called for in the second half. The half time team talk from head coach Zavalin Sergei paid off as his players emerged for the second more focused and helped Azovmash to a more robust defensive performance.

A more aggressive defence meant Budivelnyk found points harder to come by during the third quarter, but luckily their own defence was holding up well. Azovmash, buoyed by American point guard Lynn Greer pegged the Budivelnyk lead down to 16 points at the final interval and with just three minutes left in the fourth the deficit was down to 11.

That was as good as it would get for Azovmash though as the two teams traded scores for the remainder of the game, allowing Budivelnyk to run out 82-70 winners.

Lynn Greer had given Azovmash hope with 31 points but ultimately was undone by the consistency of Budivelnyk that was epitomized by American forward Leo Lyons, who notched up 27 points and 6 rebounds.
The victory meant that Budivelnyk picked up their second Superleague crown after also winning the competition in 2011.

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