DKV Joventut Badalona sent out a very loud message on Tuesday night that they will be serious challengers for EuroCup honours by pulling away from Galil Elyon in the second half for a 90-77 triumph.
Despite the unavailability of Scottish center Robert Archibald for this contest, DKV were able to break open a tight game and claim a comfortable win.
The contest was a much anticipated clash and not just because it signalled the start of the EuroCup campaigns for both teams.
|Elmer Bennett |
Each team also boasts two of the most talented youngsters in international basketball.
Rudy Fernandez, the Spanish international who was one of the heroes of DKV's Catalan Cup victory over Barcelona at the weekend, had a team-high 20 points while the incredible Lior Eliyahu of Israeli side Galil poured in a game-high 25 and grabbed six rebounds in defeat.
Both he and fellow Israeli Under-20 star Anton Kazarnovski started the game and ended up fouling out.
Joventut, who are coached by Aito Reneses, only led 47-46 at half-time, but came out of the changing rooms stronger and stretched their lead to 68-60 after three quarters.
They outscored Galil 22-17 over the final 10 minutes to take the Group H victory.
Galil are a side which has produced some of the great players from Israel and Eliyahu is clearly the latest. He is widely expected to reach the NBA in the future, but for now, Galil are benefitting from the 2.03m forward's talents.
DKV are an intriguing side. In the extremely competitive ACB, they will encounter fierce opposition and the club looks to have prepared for the rigours of both competitions by making some key acquisitions.
English center Andy Betts, who played for Euroleague and ACB runners-up Tau Ceramica last season, weighed in with 15 points and six rebounds for DKV. He was especially vital with fellow Brit Robert Archibald unavailable for this contest.
Czech international Lubos Barton, who played for Lottomatica Roma last season, was also brought in to provide firepower from the perimeter and he did just that by making three of five from behind the arc and finishing with 11 points.
Spanish league veteran Elmer Bennett, a member of Real Madrid's ACB title-winning team last season, has also joined and the point guard played 32 minutes and scored nine points while also dishing out eight assists.
Even without the tenacious rebounder Archibald, Joventut won that battle, grabbing 40 to just 27 for Galil.