Montepaschi Siena Reign Supreme Again

18 June 2012

Montepaschi Mens Sana Siena celebrating winning the Italian Serie A 2011/12 title
Montepaschi Mens Sana Siena players and staff celebrating winning the Italian Serie A 2011/12 title

Italian basketball has had some dynasties in its history.

Olimpia Milano, Virtus Bologna and Pallacanestro Varese were all imperious at one time or another.

Milano, while sponsored by and named Borletti, won the league title five years in a row from 1950-54.

No side has been as dominate and all-conquering, however, as the club of the here and now: Montepaschi Mens Sana Siena.

The outfit coached by Italy's national team boss, Simone Pianigiani, clinched a record-breaking sixth consecutive Lega A crown on Sunday with an 84-73 triumph over EA7 Emporio Armani Milano.

The victory gave Siena a 4-1 victory in the best-of-seven play-off finals.

"I am fortunate," Pianigiani said.

"Besides the victory, I have been lucky to experience this in my city, in my team, with my people.

"Behind this achievement is the work of so many people that have gone beyond the call of duty."

There has been speculation that Pianigiani could leave the club and take up a new challenge elsewhere.

"Will this be the last?" Pianigiani said.

"I don't know. We shall see."

In Sunday's Game 5, Greece international Ioannis Bourousis had 18 points and Malik Hairston 15 for Milano but it was Hairston's former team, Siena, that reigned supreme.

The Tuscan outfit began landing the telling blows in the second quarter.

Ksistof Lavrinovic celebrating Sienas Italian Serie A 2011/12 title
Siena's Ksistof Lavrinovic didn't quite have to carry the team like he did with his children during celebrations, but he did lead all scorers in Game 5

That's when another Greece national team star, guard Nikos Zisis, poured in 10 of his 15 points as Siena opened up a 42-31 lead.

Siena went further ahead in the third quarter when Bo McCalebb scored eight of his 16 points in the contest for a 63-44 advantage.

Milano, coached by Spain's national team boss Sergio Scariolo, mounted a late comeback and closed the gap to 77-71 after a basket by Bourousis and a three-ball by Hairston with a little more than a minute to play.

Shaun Stonerook, who's been with Montepaschi since 2005 and celebrated all six of their league title wins, stopped the run cold in its tracks with a three-pointer.

Montepaschi's Lithuania international Ksistof Lavrinovic finished with 22 points to lead all scorers.

Pianigiani's team hasn't just been claiming league crowns.

They have won the last four Italian Cups and five Super Cups.

Pianigiani won't have much time off to savour his latest achievement.

He will soon gather will Italy's national team as it prepares for the Qualification Round of EuroBasket 2013.

The Azzurri will play in Group F against Turkey, the Czech Republic, Belarus and Portugal, with the first game on 15 August at home against the Portuguese.



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