CSK VVS Samara booked a place in their first European Final with an emphatic second half performance against Pizza Express Apollon in the 2nd leg of their EuroCup Challenge semi-final.
Trailing by 2 points at the half, meant that the Russian side were actually down by 4 on aggregate, but a tough defensive performance and an increased offensive output led to them outscoring their opponents by a total 28 points in the 3rd and 4th quarters holding Apollon to just 7 and 8 points respectively.
Nikila Shabalkin topped all scorers with 21 points to go with his 10 rebounds, making only 1 turnover in 36 minutes. Three other players finished in double digits for the home team, with import Kelvin Gibbs adding 18 points on 7 of 12 shooting.
For the visitors after such a promising start it was a tough night and shooting 2 of 17 from the 3 point line didn’t help their cause, imports Shelton and Oden both finished with 16 points apiece in the defeat.
CSK-VVS will now face Keravnos, another Cypriot side in the two-leg final to be played home and away later this month. Samara’s record means that they will have the all important home advantage in the second leg.