|22-year-old Bulgaria international Bozhidar Avramov was one of the key players in Lukoil Academic's 10th straight succesful league campaign|
If Lukoil Academic Sofia have no equals in Bulgarian basketball after winning a 10th consecutive league title over the weekend, beaten finalists Levski Sofia at least showed they themselves to be a much improved team this season.
Academic completed a 3-0 sweep of Levski in the play-off finals.
After rolling to 25 wins in their 28 regular season games, Academic defeated Chernomorets 2-0 in the quarter-finals before brushing aside Cherno More, 3-0, in the last four.
Levski, runners-up in the regular season standings with a 23-5 mark, beat Spartak Pleven 2-0 in their opening play-off series and then downed Tundja, 3-1, in the semi-finals.
In the finals, Academic claimed an 87-80 Game 1 win after getting 24 points from Brandon Heath while in Game 2, Levski lost 80-76, despite a balanced attack led by Aaron Harper's 20 points.
Bozhidar Avramov had 18 points for Academic in that triumph.
In Game 3, Academic trailed by as many as nine points but once again prevailed by a narrow margin, 87-82, after Heath poured in 25 points.
Academic veteran Todor Stoykov had kind words for Levski.
"We can definitely say that this was the strongest team of Levski in the last few years," he said.
Academic were led by Marin Dokuzovski, the man who steered the F.Y.R. of Macedonia to a fourth-place finish at last year's EuroBasket in Lithuania.
"It's nice when your team wins," Dokuzovski said.
"Levski again showed that they a very strong team and if the hosts had won Game 3, it would not have been undeserved.
"With my team's performances during the year, we proved that we deserve the title.
As for his future with the team, he said: "My contract expires on 31 May and there is nothing to talk about team selection and goals if I haven't sat down with management and do not know whether or not I'm staying."