András Gáll, SZTÁR Sport
With just 2 weeks to go before the EuroLeague Women Final Four in Samara, MiZo Pecs received a boost at the weekend, defeating Diósgyőri KSK 73-57 to win the Hungarian Cup.
Playing in front of a capacity 3,500 fans on their home floor, Pecs regained the title that they had won 7 consecutive times, before losing last year's final to Szolnoki MÁV-Coop.
The win was not only a timely morale boost for Pecs before the Final Four, but sees Head Coach László Rátgéber enter the record books as the most successful coach in Hungarian baskeball history.
|Daliborka Vilipic top scored for Pecs with 21 points in the final|
The 39-year old playcaller was tied with the late Ödön Szabó before the cup final, both with 7 league and cup titles to their names. This year's result, the 8th success for Rátgéber, is enough to move him into the number 1 position.
"It means a lot to me, we wanted to make our faithful fans happy by reclaiming the Cup of Hungary, which we lost last year unexpectedly”, said Rátgéber, who took three consecutive time-outs in the final minute of the deciding game, when the outcome had already been decided.
"I wanted to have some fun and also give the fans an opportunity to celebrate the team. I had no ill intentions towards the opponent, Diósgyőri KSK, whose coach, Péter Tapodi is a good friend of mine”, Rátgéber added.
The Hungarian Cup Final Four was a fine dress rehearsal for Pécs a few days before the EuroLeague Women Final Four.
During Saturday’s semifinals Diósgyőri KSK disposed of MKB-Euroleasing Sopron 72-62 while MiZo-Pécsi trounced Zala Volán-ZTE 82-52.
The following day Sopron had a hard time beating lowly Zala Volán 76-75, thanks to 37 points scored from Lucie Blahuskova, MVP of the Final Four.
In the final, Diósgyőri put up stern resistence in the first period, keeping pace with the heavily favoured home team. But with the game tied 17-17, Pécs slowly but surely broke away, led by two supersubs, Daliborka Vilipic and Amra Dapo.
Pécs held Diósgyőri to a mere 5 points in the second quarter, applying their trademark suffocating defence.
Up 42-25 at halftime, Pécs had practically no trouble clinging to a comfortable cushion, cruising to a 73 to 57 victory, although Diósgyőri put up a decent fight, once cutting the lead to 7 points (56 to 49). However, it was obvious that the balanced team effort of the eight time champions was too much for the opponent.
Pécs were lead by Vilipic (21 points), Korie Hlede of Croatia and Dalma Iványi of Hungary, 12 points apiece, while Tímea Béres contributed 8 points, Dapo scoring 7. Diósgyőri was lead by Ana Jokovic of Serbia and Montenegro (21), Gina Farmer of New Zealand (13) and Csilla Fodor of Hungary (7).