Belgrade, Serbia – In an epic clash between two of Europe’s top teams, Real Madrid prevailed over Fenerbahce Istanbul 85-80 in the finals to win the 2018 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Championship. The last time Real Madrid raised the trophy above their heads was in 2015. This return to glory is a well-deserved achievement for the Spanish powerhouse. They overcame adversity in the middle of the season but got in the winning zone at the right time and crushed serious opposition in the playoffs.
Zalgiris Kaunas stunned regular season champ CSKA Moscow 77-79 to secure third place.
The defending champions Fenerbahce started off the action with an early 5-0 run. Real Madrid’s Luka Doncic responded in kind and got Real Madrid on the board with a pair of baskets. All eyes would be on the 19-year-old Slovenian wunderkind to see if he would have the moxie to lead his team to victory. Doncic, a possible 1st pick in this year’s NBA draft, did not disappoint. The 2017-18 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague MVP proved to be truly instrumental in this crucial game. His aggressiveness pressured Fenerbahce’s defense forcing them to send him to the free throw line. Doncic would punish them by making 8-of-10 of his charity shots en route to his 15 points for the night. He spearheaded the team’s offense with his four dimes, making sure to get his teammates involved. Fabien Causeur led Real Madrid with 17 points and was a perfect 3-of-3 from beyond the 3-point arc.
Fenerbahce closed out the first half with a slim 40-38 advantage. Real Madrid would begin the third frame guns blazing and went on a 7-0 run. Nicolo Melli would be there to get Fenerbahce back in the game. He put up an impressive effort, finishing the game with a game-high 28 points. He needed help but only Brad Wannamaker cracked double digits in scoring with 14 points of his own. Wannamaker’s efforts towards the end of the game gave Fenerbahce a fighting chance, but Trey Thompkins managed to keep Real Madrid ahead to finish with the 85-80 win.
The 2017-18 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague is now in the books and Real Madrid ended up being the protagonist of an amazing story. 2018-19 will be a new chapter and possibly new heroes with fresh trials to overcome.