Klosterneuburg Austrian Champions Again

25 May 2012

Xion Dukes Klosterneuburg
Xion Dukes Klosterneuburg celebrating their tenth Austrian league title (photo: Pictorial/Michael Filippovits)

Xion Dukes Klosterneuburg collected their 10th Austrian basketball league title - and first in 22 years - by beating Allianz Swans Gmunden 67-55 to complete a 3-1 series victory.

Curtis Bobb scored 23 points and Austrian international Christoph Nagler added 10 as Klosterneuburg closed out the series at home to capture its first championship since 1990.

Klosterneuburg's 10 championships - which include eight in a row between 1983 and 1990 - move the club into second place in Austrian history, one behind UBSC Vienna.

"I can't believe this. We absolutely wanted to win this title at home in front of our fans. We had great chemistry all season and formed a great unit," said Nagler, who was named Best Austrian Player of the season as well as MVP of the Finals.

"This is unbelievable, indescribable," said Dukes' 40-year-old captain Damir Hamidovic, who was playing his 20th - and final - season in Klosterneuburg, located just north of Vienna.

"We didn't think it would be easy at all. We knew this would be the most difficult game of the series. Gmunden needed to win and didn't have any pressure. And we knew if we didn't win here it would be really difficult in Game Five at Gmunden."

Dukes head coach Werner Sallomon, who has coached the club since 2000, including since 2004 as chairman, called the title "probably the greatest moment in my career."

"This is a tribute to the unbelievable amount of hours everyone put into this club. This success is not mine but of the entire fan community and volunteers. Without them, this could not be possible. It's not right to call this title mine," said Sallomon, who took the Dukes under his wing when it nearly went bankrupt in 2004.

Klosterneuberg were the powerhouse in Austria in the 1980s with their stretch of eight straight crowns - the longest streak in Austrian history.

But the club's run ended almost in tragedy as the team bus crashed on a trip to a pre-season tournament in Hungary in August 1990.

Although none of the Klosterneuburg players died, many missed a number of months due to their injuries and others had to end their careers.

The four-time champions from Gmunden were playing in their eighth of the last nine Austrian finals.

But Swans were unable to take advantage of another double-double of 16 points and 12 points by Dan Oppland.

The American had 22 points and 20 rebounds in Games One and Two and actually had a triple double in Game Two with 10 steals as well.

"Despite adversity all season we fought all year. But I am still proud of my team. They are a good team and they deserve the title," said Swans' Morris Sharoud Curry, who was named the season MVP.

"We played great all season. We finished the regular season as the top team. We started with a new team this season. But still, it's disappointing to lose in the final," said Swans head coach Mathias Fischer, the league's Coach of the Year.



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