|Former Romania international Catalin Burlacu led CSU Asesoft Ploiesti in scoring throughout the season with an average of 16.1 points per game |
CSU Asesoft Ploiesti didn't have it all their own way during the regular season in the Romanian league but they sure did in the play-offs.
Vladimir Arnautovic's men, who went into the post-season on the back of a fourth-place finish in the standings with a 20-8 mark, swept all before them in the play-offs.
They defeated Oradea, 3-0, in the quarter-finals and followed that up with another 3-0 whitewash of Gaz Metan in the semi-finals.
Gaz Metan had won the regular-season title with a 22-5 mark.
Against Timisoara in the finals, Ploiesti gave themselves a perfect launch pad to capture the title with an 104-89 Game 1 victory and they rolled to a 79-65 win in Game 2.
After a 63-55 success in Game 3, though, Timisoara came to life.
They fought hard in Game 4 and led 33-25 at half-time.
The contest went to overtime, though, and Ploiesti weren't to be denied, outscoring Timisoara 8-6 in the extra period.
Ploiesti won the game 80-78 and captured the title.
Aleksandar Vlahovic, who has played for Serbia's youth teams, poured in 24 points while Darius Hargrove added 18 and Arvydas Cepulis 15.
CSU Asesoft captain Catalin Burlacu contributed 11 in the win.
Burlacu also grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.
"This is my most beautiful title as a coach," Arnautovic said.
"It was a crazy play-offs, in which we demonstrated that we are truly a team.
"The guys deserve this award because they have worked and believed in hard times that they could become champions."
Burlacu was glad that his team was able to put last year's disappointment behind them.
U.Mobitel denied them in the play-off finals, 4-2, in the 2010-11 campaign.
"We can only be happy," he said.
"We ended the regular season in fourth position and I worked hard for this trophy this year."
Vlahovic was ecstatic.
"It was a crazy game," he said of the decider.
"We ran and we struggled.
"I am 21 years old and this is my first title.
"It is a unique sensation."