Virtus Bologna set up a dream title game for Italian fans at the EuroChallenge Final Four after rolling to an 83-69 home triumph over Proteas EKA AEL on Friday night at the FuturShow Station.
The Cypriot club gave Virtus fits for a half but Matteo Boniciolli's team pulled away for a decisive victory and will now face Cholet Basket for the championship.
Sharrod Ford had 18 points and 13 rebounds for Virtus, who dominated the boards.
They finished with 44 to just 31 for Miroslav Nikolic's team.
Guilherme, the Virtus captain, had a game-high 15 rebounds to go with his 10 points.
Virtus have entered the EuroChallenge fully focused and determined to claim a title in front of their own fans.
They almost pulled off the feat in the Coppa Italia earlier this year before falling by just one point to Montepaschi Siena.
Virtus scored the last five points of the first half against Proteas for a 39-34 lead and then blew the game wide open in the third quarter when they increased the intensity on defense.
Leading 44-40, a three-pointer by Brett Blizzard sparked an 18-4 run.
After Italian veteran Roberto Chiacig of Virtus and LaVelle Blanchard of Proteas exchanged lay-ups, Reshawn Terry sank a jump shot for the Italians.
Blizzard and Ford then each made two free throws before a dunking contest broke out.
Ford caught a pass from Terry and dunked with two hands and Virtus captain Guilherme caught a pass in transition from Earl Boykins and threw down a one-handed slam.
Blanchard reacted quickly and dunked with authority for Proteas but Ford had the last say.
After splitting a pair of free throws, he dunked with two hands to cap the run and leave the home fans celebrating a 62-44 advantage.
Virtus were able to cruise home in the fourth quarter with Proteas getting no closer than 13.
Keith Langford had 13 points and Boykins 15 - 11 in the second half.
Matteo Bonicioli, Bologna Head Co ach:
"Against a very consistent team like Proteas we have been playing consistent Basketball, waiting and maintaining patiente when they were slowing down the rhythm of the game. As soon as we saw the possibility to attack them in fast break, which was the best part of our game tonight, we did it. This is an important sign of maturity as a team. Concerning the final, the task will be completely different. Limassol was a technical team with a lot of players with great knowledge of Basketball. Cholet on the other hand is one of the most athletic teams in the competition so we have to change our approach and prepare tomorrow for the final."
Brett Blizzard, Bologna Player:
"The key to the game was that we used our home court to our advantage with easy transition baskets. Wether we scored or not, we still pushed the ball and made them run back on defence. So we were able to get the crowd involved. Most important was the defence. We limited them to one shot, outrebounding them and thus being able to make the game qick with an outlet pass."
Miroslav Nikolic, Proteas Head Coach:
"First of all congratulations to Bologna, they played a better game tonight. I watched five or six of their games and one thing that we should have done but didn't was to defend the fast break. We did not play organised on offence either. We dealt with a much better team than us."
Milan Dozet, Proteas Player:
"Bologna ia a really fast and strong team. Our coach just recently took over the team and I think that was not enough time to prepare for a tournament like this. We lost all our chances in the third quarter because we did not play good defence, especially against fast break. We tried to come back but did not have enough time."