The citizens of Ukraine were treated to a memorable basketball show this week as the FIBA Europe League All Star Day was held in Kiev. The event was hosted by FEL club BC Kyiv and took place in front of a sold-out crowd of 7,000 fans at the Kiev Sports Palace as well as an international television audience.
Those in attendance got to see the Rest of the World defeat Europe 84:91 in a thrilling contest that went right down to the last minute. The game itself was the highlight in what the organisers promised would be a “10 million dollar show”. From the opening night’s “Rasminka” (or warm-up) party to the post game celebration, that is exactly what they provided.
“Before this event BC Kyiv openly said that they hoped the All-Star Day would show their ability to host future sporting events,” said FIBA Europe Executive Director Nar Zanolin.
I think what we have witnessed here over the past couple of days is proof of not only this country’s ability to host top level sporting events, but their commitment to investing in the promotion and development of basketball.”
"A 10 million dollar show for 24 Ukrainian Hryvnia" was the slogan that could be found on billboards all around Kiev, and that’s exactly what the 7,000 fans at the Sports Palace were lucky enough to see.
Boney M were the headline entertainment act, but there was plenty on display to keep the fans either on the edge of their seats or on their feet during the 4-hour extravaganza.
After the crowd had been warmed up by high-flying dunk artists, the Slamnation, it was the turn of the players to show their shooting skills in the 3-point shoot-out. A total of 9 players participated in the contest, 3 from team Europe (Sergey Chikalkin, Saulius Stombergas and Laurent Sciarra), 3 from the Rest of the World (Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Ashante Johnson and Roderick Blakney) and 3 special guests (Viacheslav Ievstratenko - Azovmash Mariupol, Oleg Yushkin - MBC Odessa and Denys Zhuravlov - BC Kyiv).
The order of shooters was dictated by their 3-point shooting percentage over the course of the FEL season and Sergey Chikalkin was first up. Seemingly no pressure was felt by the 50% shooter and he hit for 25 of a possible 30 points, immediately setting the standard of the contest. His 25-point haul included 3 racks where he hit all 5 shots.
Chikalkin had set the bar high, but Ukrainian native Denys Zhuravlov was up next and he replied with 20 points. The third shooter Laurent Sciarra hit for 16 which nobody could match until the third-from-last participant Viacheslav Iavstratenko stepped up and scored 18.
Crowd favourite Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf came close to making the final but his 17 points were just short.
So it was a Russia-Ukrainian final as Chikalkin, Iavstratenko and Zhuravlov would battle for the title. As it turned out, Chikalkin’s form was such that it was a no-contest. He hit 23 points in the final for a total score of 48/60 and put the competition out of reach. Ievstratenko scored 17 and Zhuravlov 14, but it was clear for all that Chikalkin was in unbeatable form and the title was his.
First Round Scores
Sergey Chikalkin - 25
Denys Zhuravlov - 20
Laurent Sciarra - 16
Saulius Stombergas - 15
Roderik Blakney - 8
Ashante Johnson - 8
Viacheslav Ievstratenko - 18
Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf 17
Oleg Yushkin - 11
Sergey Chikalkin - 23
Viacheslav Ievstratenko - 18
Denys Zhuravlov - 14