BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
|Adam Morrison and Besiktas Milangaz lifted their first ever Turkish cup after beating Banvit in the Final|
One thing is already assured for EuroChallenge outfits Besiktas and Elan Chalon.
Both teams will end the 2011-12 campaign with silverware after capturing trophies on the domestic scene over the weekend.
Besiktas won the Turkish Cup for the first time in their history while Chalon, last season's Coupe de France winners, clinched the Semaine des As crown in France.
Ergin Ataman's Besiktas have done nothing but make headlines this season and that's not surprising considering the players the club has brought to Istanbul.
Deron Williams scored 50 points in a EuroChallenge game against Gottingen when he played for Besiktas during the NBA Lockout and the likes of Carlos Arroyo, Pops Mensah-Bonsu, David Hawkins, Adam Morrison and Serhat Cetin have made sure the spotlight remained on Besiktas.
Mensah-Bonsu scored 18 points and hauled in 19 rebounds as Besiktas won 76-69 in overtime against Galatasaray on Thursday to reach the Turkish Cup final.
Arroyo was also outstanding with 24 points, six assists and four rebounds.
In Saturday's title game against Banvit, Cetin led the way with 14 points in a 78-74 triumph.
Trailing 42-35 at half-time, Besiktas emerged from the changing room with more resolve and opened up a 75-58 lead when Cetin drilled a three-pointer.
They coasted to victory, and Cetin was named MVP of the Turkish Cup.
"We've worked real hard for this trophy," Cetin said, "and I dedicate it to our fans.
Cetin then predicted: "Stay tuned for more of them (championships) coming this season."
Ataman was elated.
"This is indeed a great day for our club," the Besiktas coach said.
"We've finally managed to bring the Turkish Cup home.
"I am proud of everyone involved, especially our fans for their incredible support throughout the game.
"This is not going to be the only title we'll capture this season.
"Just keep following us!"
Besiktas have already progressed to the Quarter-Finals of the EuroChallenge and they are second in the Turkish top flight behind leaders Anadolu Efes.
They will be in action on Tuesday at home to BC Niznhy Novgorod.
In France, meanwhile, Chalon fans are celebrating after their team won the Semaine des As.
Gregor Beugnot's side beat last season's winners, Gravelines Dunkerque, 73-66.
Chalon's Blake Schilb was the MVP of the competition.
He had 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists in the win over Gravelines.
"We suffered to win this final," Schilb said.
"Two weeks ago, we were hearing that there was no chance to be champions this year.
"That motivated us.
"Everyone changed his mind-set and raised his level of play."
Schilb says what Chalon do better this year is shut opponents down.
"We defend more this season," he said.
As for scooping the honor of the top player in the Semaine des As, Schilb said: "It's nice to be named MVP. It's an honor, especially in this tournament. But my teammates put me in this position."
Chalon coach Beugnot says the triumph has confirmed that his team keeps getting better and better.
"The team believes in itself," he said.
"Having won the Coupe de France last year helped us.
"But we have to go up (in level of performance) more if we want to become (French Pro A) champions."
Chalon host Telekom Baskets on Tuesday in the EuroChallenge.
Madrid Down Barcelona
|Nikola Mirotic helped Real Madrid capture their first Copa del Rey title in 19 years|
Real Madrid have played second fiddle to Barcelona for several years in Spain but they made sure 2012 was going to be their year, at least in the Copa del Rey.
Led by coach Pablo Laso, the deep, talented and very hard-working Madrid trounced Barca in Sunday's final, 71-54.
Madrid lifted the Copa for the first time in 19 years.
Spain international Sergio Llull had 23 points and Jaycee Carroll poured in 22 for Madrid.
Llull, who captured the EuroBasket gold medal last year in Lithuania with his national team, was MVP of the Copa.
"We worked hard," Llull said.
"The game was very complicated. It's incredible."
They have played in 11 Copa finals and won five.
Laso, who joined Madrid in the summer from San Sebastian outfit Lagun Aro GBC, now has a major honor as a coach.
A lecturer in the FIBA Europe Coaching Certificate Programme, Laso once played the game at the highest level in Spain and won the Copa del Rey as a guard with Baskonia in 1995 when they beat Zaragoza.
Felipe Reyes, another Spain international in the Madrid side, had a huge hand in this Copa del Rey triumph.
Reyes had just two points on Sunday but in the Quarter-Final win over EuroChallenge outfit Fuenlabrada, the Madrid captain led his team in both scoring (17 points) and rebounding (12).
He dedicated the victory to the fans, and his late father who passed away in the month before last year's EuroBasket.
"It's a great joy after 19 years," Reyes said.
"There were many years getting to the Final and losing the last match and it was time to win the Cup."
Nikola Mirotic, the MVP of the U20 European Championship last year in Bilbao, who finished second in the FIBA Europe Young player of the Year voting, celebrated his first title with Madrid.
"I'm very happy," he said. "We have done a great job during the entire year and it has shown in the game.
"We're not finished. We have a team with a great future."
The only team that has won trophies in Italy in recent times is Montepaschi Siena and that continued over the weekend when Simone Piangiani's side lifted the Coppa Italia.
Siena had a scare in the Semi-Final against Olimpia Milano, winning 67-65, but rolled to an 88-71 victory over Bennet Cantu in the Final.
David Andersen was named MVP of the Coppa Italia for Montepaschi.