Girona Cruise Into Final

13.04.2007

Akasvayu Girona put a dreadful run of form behind them to defeat Spanish rivals Estudiantes in the EuroCup Final Four.

Girona had lost five straight in ACB action at the Pavilion Fontejau and in Estudiantes faced a rival on an eleven-game winning streak.

But fortunes were reversed in the EuroCup as Girona put on a masterful display to beat Estu 89-58 and advance to the title game on Sunday against Azovmash.

"For me personally this is very special because I haven't been in a European title game for some years," said Girona's Ariel McDonald, who top-scored with 24 points.

"This is also important for the city of Girona. It is a wonderful opportunity to host this event and try to win the EuroCup."

"We played as a team and I am very pleased with the result," added Girona head coach Svetislav Pesic.

Girona dominated from the opening tip off, hitting their first four shots to open up an 8-2 lead after only 90 seconds.

Estudiantes struggled to keep up with Girona’s lightning pace and committed five turnovers in the first quarter to trail 26-14 after ten minutes.

They gradually narrowed the gap after the break and closed to within four points after Will McDonald’s dunk midway through the quarter, 30-26.

But Girona answered with a 9-0 run which was punctuated by Victor Sada’s steal and dunk with 1:34 remaining. Sada followed that play with two free throws as Girona extended their lead to 41-26 and very nearly came up with another steal on the next possession.

Sada knocked the ball loose from Marlon Garnett, but in his efforts to retrieve it, slid along the floor and was called for the travel.

Svetislav Pesic’s vehement protestations earned him a technical foul and he had to be restrained by his players from entering the court.

Garnett made the technical free throws and then Francisco Urgell pulled off a circus shot as he caught Garnett’s wayward shot and managed to lay it in at the buzzer.

He was also fouled on the play but missed the bonus.

Estudiantes' mini run gave them all the momentum going into the third quarter, but any thoughts of a comeback were ruthlessly stamped out by Girona.

The home team came out on fire with Marko Marinovic and McDonald nailing consecutive threes to open the quarter.

Fucka added a jump shot along with two Dalibor Bagaric free throws and Girona's lead ballooned to 21 points, 51-30.

The game swiftly turned into a no-contest and it was McDonald who put the final seal on Estudiantes’ coffin.

The EuroCup All Star was a threat all night from long distance (5/9 three-pointers) and his trey with 7:23 to play in the fourth quarter gave Girona an unassailable lead, 69-46.

McDonald finished with a game high 21 points while Fernando San Emeterio added 15 for Girona who finished 11/27 from the three-point line.

"I just wanted to come out well and do what I can to help this team make it to the final," said McDonald.

Will McDonald was the only Estudiantes player to break double figures in scoring with 11.

“They were more aggressive than us on both sides of the floor," said Estu's Marlon Garnett.

"We couldn’t match their aggressiveness. They played so well together."


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