It would be impossible to win against such a great team as Ural Great Perm – that was probably the only thing which Polonia’s fans and supporters could think before the game in Warsaw. But the impossible became possible as Polonia defeated the Russian team to win their sixth game in the FIBA Europe League, 92:81.
The victory not only gives Polonia a very realistic hope of qualifying for the play-offs, but creates a very interesting situation in Group C. Ural Great still hold the top spot, while German side GHP Bamberg are in second, followed by Hapoel Tel Aviv, Aris Thessaloniki and Polonia, who will all battle for the last 2 play-off spots.
The game was very interesting from the very beginning. After 3 fastbreaks from the Russians and an early scoreline of 2:6, it seemed that Ural would literally run off with the game.
Although Polonia were without injured guard Walter Jeklin, it was obvious that they would give nothing away. They fought back to take a 1st quarter lead, before Ural Great guard Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf scored 5 points to tie the score at 23:23.
The next 2 quarters belonged to the home team, led by Lithuanian guard Rolandas Jarutis. His scoring (he finished with 16 points) and passing guided Polonia to a lead, which reached 48:35 at halftime.
Ural’s cause was not helped in the 3rd quarter when head coach Sergey Belov received a technical foul. Eric Elliot hit the penalty free throws and added a 3-pointer on the next possession, to increase the home side’s advantage to 73:58.
Ural were left chasing the game in the final 10 minutes. They managed to get within 4 points (82:78) but Polonia were not to be denied in one of their best performances in recent memory.
Eliott was named MVP and finished with a game high 27 points. Jeff Nordgaard added 17 points and Jarutis and Antonio Harvey had 16 each.
Zakhar Pashutin led Ural Great with 16 points, to which he added 7 rebounds and 7 assists.
Wojciech Kaminski, Head Coach, Polonia:
"I congratulate my players because this is very important victory for us. We played without one of our best shooters, Walter Jeklin. I appreciate Krzysztof Sidor who did a great job playing in defense against NBA star Abdul-Rauf. We are not in play offs yet, but we still believe that we’ve got a chance to qualify. We will fight for that extremely hard!"
Sergei Belov, Head Coach, Ural Great:
"We played very bad defense, and let Polonia score too many points from very comfortable positions. I could not play 2 of my players fully. Chikalkin and Jones are injured, which is why Chika didn’t play at all, and Jones played only 17 minutes. We didn’t play as a team. Everybody tried to play individually."
Krzysztof Sidor, Polonia:
"We played excellent in the first three quarters. We were leading by about ten points, and thanks to our good two-point shooting percentage we could control the game. The fourth quarter was very tough. Ural showed us what it means to play hard defense. We couldn’t do anything in a couple of minutes in the fourth quarter. It was very tough game for us, because we had to win it if we want to qualify to the play-offs."
Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Ural Great:
"It was a terrible game for me. I’ve got four fouls very fast, and couldn’t help my team in the most important moments of the game. We must improve our defense."