An Unlikely Championship For Prievidza

03 May 2012

BC Prievidza celebrating Slovak Extraliga 2012 title
Slovak champions BC Prievidza celebrating the Extraliga 2012 title (photo: BC Prievidza)

Slovak club BC Prievidza's fans are in the clouds.

It hasn't always been that way this season, especially when there were fears that there might not even be a season.

A lack of sponsorship nearly prevented the club from joining the Extraliga competition.

But Prievidza pulled together, managed to take their place in the league and with first-year man Johan Roijakkers, a Dutchman, as coach, the team took the fans on a magical ride that ended with a Slovakian league title triumph over the weekend.

Two of the country's top clubs, Inter Bratislava and Levice, were invited to join the Czech Mattoni NBL and did not take part in this season's Slovak league.

Prievidza finished the Extraliga regular season with 22 wins and just 10 defeats - the same record as first-place Komarno.

The two sides met in the play-off finals and Prievidza prevailed in the best-of-five title series, 3-1.

"All who love this sport in Prievidza, we're excited that we succeeded," club president Maros Pavlenda said.

"This triumph is all the more valuable than before because our participation in the league was under threat."

In the decisive win, David Godbold had 18 points and Sullivan Phillips, the British veteran from Bermudas, 13.

BC Prievidza celebrating Slovak Extraliga 2012 title
Prievidza overcame Komarno 3-1 in the play-off finals to clinch the championship (photo: BC Prievidza)

Greek guard Nick Livas also came up big.

He had 10 rebounds to go with his nine points.

Prievidza are celebrating, yet there remains uncertainty about next season because of finances.

The main priority will be to have Roijakkers come back and coach the team.

"Since we started building the team with two players, we had a fantastic season," Roijakkers said.

"Every day, we have been taking little steps that led us to the title."

Will he remain?

"Everything will depend on what the situation is in Prievidza," he said.

"What will the budget be (for him) and what will it be with the club. Then decide.

"I want to do what is best for my career."

As for Phillips, he is as proud as he's ever been as a professional.

"We had a promising young team," the 33-year-old said.

"I tried to advise players, which I succeeded in doing.

"I am extremely happy that we won the title.

"We fought one another, which is essential.

"Now I would like to fight for the Olympics. I think I have a chance to get there."

Phillips was recently named in Great Britain's preliminary squad for the London Games.




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