The FIBA Basketball Champions League opened for business on Tuesday as Leg 1 of the Qualifying Round tipped off with eight games around the continent. After the early part of the year was spent fighting the Euroleague, the FIBA organized event was finally able to get down to the Basketball. Through the first round of qualifying, some clubs put a foot in the competition proper, while other ties are still wide open.
Paths to the FIBA Basketball Champions League will be decided on Thursday (Sept. 29th) when the qualifying round wraps up.
Thursday will see Juventus and FC Porto resume hostilities after a hard fought contest this evening. Juventus took a narrow 81-83 road win, but will know that Porto will have plenty to play for in the return leg. Canadian guard Aaron Best pushed the victory with 18 points as the game went to the wire. Gorningen and TU/Rock is another tie that leaves no clues for a victor on Thursday. The two teams played out a tense 76-76 draw, but TU/Rock will be happier with home court advantage in the second leg.
Openjobmetis V also travelled and came away with a win. The club managed to down Benfica 72-75 in Lisbon to take a slender advantage back to its own arena. Christian Eyenga was a presence in the win as he collected 19 points and took 5 boards. Igokea collected a rare home win on Tuesday with a 71-69 win over Mornar Bar. Yet again, this is a contest that is hard to call, Mornar Bar stayed close enough to suggest the team could progress as leg two is on its own floor.
Oradea looked a little more convincing in front of its own fans, completing a 71-64 win over Prievidza. That gives Oradea a seven point cushion to protect as the teams meet again in two days. Cluj Napoca is positively cruising after a 50-78 road demolition job over AEK. The Romanians hold a massive 28 point lead for the second leg, which will be played in Cluj. It is probably safe to say that the club will progress to the second qualifying round of the FIBA Champions League.
VTB United League club Tsmoki-Minsk is also in cruise control after overpowering Rilski 58-72. The stalwart Belarusian champs were in control throughout and will look to get the job done in Minsk on Thursday. Speaking of job done, Kataja Basket smashed Sodertalje 97-58 at home to all but secure a berth in the next phase. The hosts were sensational and now hold a 39 point lead to take on the road in leg 2.