Marcelinho Huertas ignited Iberostar Tenerife in Sunday’s FIBA Intercontinental Cup final against Segafredo Virtus Bologna. The influential guard scored a team-high 23 points and teammate Giorgi Shermadini finished with 18 points and seven rebounds in Tenerife’s 80-72 home triumph.
Spanish club Iberostar Tenerife defeated Venezuela’s Guaros de Lara 76-71 in the 2017 FIBA Intercontinental Cup final, winning the event for the first time.
Huertas’ emotional reaction
On Sunday, Huertas was thrilled with the outcome of the game.
“This means a lot for me and the club and we are making noise via the Intercontinental Cup and the Basketball Champions League,” the 36-year-old Huertas, a former FC Barcelona and Los Angeles Lakers player, declared afterward.
Despite his shooting struggles in the opening half, didn’t doubt his ability to make key plays for the Spanish club. As a result, the 190-cm Brazilian playmaker put 20 points on the board in the second half.
Huertas sank 5 of 10 3-point attempts in the title-clinching game.
“I am trying to play the game the right way and the shots I missed in the first half, went in during the second,” Huertas commented later.
Huertas, who was named FIBA Intercontinental Cup MVP, also contributed six rebounds and three assists in the final.
Teammates Sasu Salin, who had 12 points, and Aaron White, who added 10 points and seven rebounds, also made big contributions in the victory.
Quality defense sets the tone
For Iberostar Tenerife, a dominant first-quarter defensive effort helped set the tone in the FIBA Intercontinental Cup title match.
The tournament champions held Virtus Bologna to 11 points in the opening frame and led by five.
Then, on the final scoring play of the first half, Giorgi Shermadini sank a jumper, courtesy of a Salin pass, to give the hosts a 42-32 lead.
The hosts took a 67-54 advantage into the final period.
Key performers for Virtus Bologna
Point guard Milos Teodosic led Virtus Bologna with 15 points, dished out eight assists and gathered seven rebounds. Teammates Giampaolo Ricci and Julian Gamble both finished with 12 points, while Devyn Marble and Stefan Markovic netted 11 points apiece in the FIBA Intercontinental Cup final. Markovic also handed out seven assists. Ricci, who played 24-plus minutes, fouled out.
In addition to their effective defense, Iberostar Tenerife won the battle on the boards, outrebounding Virtus Bologna 46-33.
Reaching the 2020 final
Iberostar Tenerife punched a ticket to Sunday’s title clash by pounding the NBA G League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers 110-89 on Friday.
In the earlier semifinal, Segafredo Virtus Bologna earned a 75-57 victory over San Lorenzo de Almagro.
San Lorenzo de Almagro topped the Rio Grande Valley Vipers 96-90.
In the run-up to Sunday’s FIBA Intercontinental Cup final, Tenerife coach Txus Vidorreta commented on numerous changes for both teams since their last meeting at the 2019 Basketball Champions League final last May in Antwerp, Belgium. Bologna won, 73-61.
“Both teams are almost entirely different now,” Vidorreta told reporters. “The only ones who remain are three players and the coaching staff on their side, one player and the coaching staff on our side, so there is no sense in looking at this as a way of avenging that loss or anything like that.”
He continued: “It’s just that, when you play in a final, you can only play with the intention to win it. Even more so when you play at home. They are the clear favorites, so we are hoping for an upset. ”