Malaga’s Montenegrin Cook Takes February Award

03.03.2010

It's been a rough-and-tumble year for Unicaja Malaga.

The proud Spanish outfit that is accustomed to challenging for honors endured a horrible start to the campaign, losing close games while seeing players go down with injuries.

It was such a poor beginning that they couldn't recover in time to qualify for  the Copa del Rey.

The situation is looking much better now and Montenegro international point guard Omar Cook is maybe the biggest reason why.

The 28-year-old, who led Malaga to three ACB wins in February, has been named Player of the Month.

Cook's biggest performance came against Cajasol Sevilla on February 14, an 86-77 Unicaja victory in which he had 27 points and seven assists.

"I'm very happy because I worked hard," he said of the award.

"It's been a tough season for the team, and this award is very special to me.

"February is the best month because we won every game. We are improving in ACB and that allowed us to climb in the standings."

Unicaja coach Aito Garcia Reneses loves the way Cook approaches his job.

"What he likes to do best is passing, but he's also able to defend well on top," Aito said.

"I think those are his two best virtues."

Cook will have a very important summer with Montenegro as they will compete in EuroBasket Division A, Group A, against Finland, Israel, Italy and Latvia.

His focus is on Unicaja for now as the team attempts to reach the ACB play-offs.

"Now the important thing is to keep improving," he said.

"We had difficulties with injuries, changes of players, but we have always been united and this is what's most important for the team."

Czechs Nymburk Win

CEZ Nymburk used to slug it out in the FIBA Europe League but now they are now in the battles of the Eurocup and on Tuesday night, Muli Katzurin's team took a very important step towards claiming a place in the Quarter-Finals.

Nymburk routed Red Star Belgrade at the Pionir, 73-55,  after an excellent performance from Czech international Petr Benda.

The 2.03m forward poured in a season-high 18 points on six of 13 shooting from the floor and a perfect six-of-six night at the charity stripe.

Benda also corralled a team-high seven rebounds.

Nymburk will be assured of a place in the Quarter-Finals if they win their final Last 16 Group L game next week against Turk Telekom.

Benda is expected to be in the Czech squad this summer when they try to win promotion back to EuroBasket Division A.

Greece's red-hot Panellinios BC suffered an 84-81 defeat at Brose Baskets Bamberg but nevertheless became the second team to qualify for the Quarter-Finals after Bilbao.

Spanish outfit Bilbao lost for the first time in the Eurocup, falling 72-68 at home to Benetton Treviso.

Valencia improved to 4-1 in Group J with a 69-64 victory at Hapoel Jerusalem.

Panellinios BC, Bilbao and Valencia all had to go through the Qualifying Round just to make it into the Eurocup.


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