Lukoil Academic Sofia has claimed its third straight Bulgarian NBL championship after defeating BC Beroe in Game 4 of the finals series, 76-83. This is the 14th league title for the organization. They have been dominating domestic Bulgarian hoops since 2003, only failing to win the championship in 2014. From recent results, it appears that they are back on track and it appears that it will a tall task to topple them.
Lukoil Academic wanted to close out the series as soon as possible and to get it done they needed to grab a win on the road. That was exactly what they did. The game was action-packed as both teams focused on their offense. It was a shootout from long range but in the end, Lukoil Academic would get the better of Beroe in that category, shooting 16-of-30 from downtown, compared to 12 made shots by the hosts. Danny Gibson accounted for seven of his team’s 3-pointers, allowing him to explode for a game-high 30 points. Even though Beroe had the more balanced attack, they could do little to slow Gibson down on the defensive end. Slowly, but surely
Slowly, but surely, Lukoil Academic built on their ever widening lead. At the end of three quarters, Beroe was staring at a 16-poin deficit. By the fourth quarter, there was just not enough time for them to cut into the lead, let alone turn the tide definitively in their favor.
Brandis Raley-Ross paced Beroe with a well-rounded stat line of 21 points, six rebounds, and six assists. Tihomir Zhelev and Aaron Jones would chip in 16 and 15 points, respectively.
Beroe put up a valiant effort but it was not enough to even out the series. Will Lukoil Academic re-establish their dynasty for years to come or will another Bulgarian team step up and challenge their dominance?