|27 February 2013|
|Jermaine Flowers of Joensuun Kataja is this week's EuroChallenge MVP|
Conventional wisdom says that a team which faces a do-or-die game needs its key players to deliver a big performance in order to win, but in practice it is a bit more complicated than that.
The players upon whom a team relies in these tight situations have to, first and foremost, not crumble under the weight of the occasion, keep their focus when everyone else's hands tremble, and transform the pressure into an adrenaline boost that will propel their team-mates.
Joensuun Kataja were a team in exactly that kind of predicament on Tuesday night and Jermaine Flowers was exactly the player they needed to lead them.
Their guests, Pinar Karsiyaka, had already secured top spot in Group I while the Finns had no other option but to win the game if they wanted to accompany the Turkish side into the quarter-finals.
'You can count on me,' the American small forward sent the message to his team-mates as he scored eight of his team's first 12 points, grabbed two rebounds and stole a ball in the first critical minutes of the encounter, when a pressure-free Karsiyaka got off to a better start.
Kataja went up 12-11 on a Flowers lay-up five minutes after tip-off and from that moment on, they believed they could pull this off and never looked back until the final buzzer, which found them 87-79 winners.
The psychological impact that Flowers's display had on his team is not reflected on his stat lines, but he still finished with 26 points, six rebounds, five steals and one assist, reaching an efficiency index rating of 31 to earn Last 16 Week 6 MVP honours.
Another player who stepped up and showed his true colours in clutch time for his team, Sean May of Paris Levallois, was second this week with a rating of 26 after leading the Parisians to an 80-74 win at Szolnoki Olaj and into the quarter-finals with his 26-point, six-rebound showing.
EUROCHALLENGE LAST 16 WEEK 6 EFFICIENCY INDEX - TOP 15