Veteran forward Kenny Gregory, the hero of Union Olimpija’s road win on Thursday, is also the Sportingbet Top 16, Week 1 MVP. Olimpija rallied late to defeat Lottomatica Roma 63-64 in the Italian capital with great doses of leadership from the 32-year-old Gregory. He excelled all night long by leading his team in scoring, setting a career-high in rebounding and collecting 9 points in the last 4 minutes to complete a seven-point comeback on the way to victory. He scored the only 4 points in the game’s final minute, including the go-ahead free throws with 8.9 seconds left, after which his rebound of Roma’s last shot attempt secured the win. Gregory finished the game with 19 points, 14 rebounds, 2 steals, a block and 5 fouls drawn, adding up to a career-high performance index rating of 30 that was also the best of Top 16’s opening week. Efes Pilsen forward Bootsy Thornton recorded the second-best performance index rating of the week, 28, as his team downed Montepaschi Siena 60-58 at home in Istanbul on Wednesday. Thornton tallied 12 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal, a block and 7 fouls drawn. Final Four MVP Juan Carlos Navarro scored a season-high 24 points to lead Regal FC Barcelona to an 81-71 victory over Maccabi Electra. Navarro, who also made history by becoming the second player to reach 2,500 Euroleague career points with a triple in the first quarter, was 5 for 10 from downtown and 9 of 10 from the line in addition to 5 assists and 2 steals as he racked up a 27 index rating. The trio of Mike Batiste of Panathinaikos, Marcelinho Huertas of Caja Laboral and Sergio Llull of Real Madrid rounded out the week’s top performers with index ratings of 26 each. Batiste scored a season-high 26 points on 11-of-17 shooting as the Greens beat Lietuvos Rytas on the road 59-80. Marcelinho scored 19 in addition to 4 rebounds and 4 assists as Laboral topped Unicaja 71-76. And Llull led Madrid with 21 points and 4 assists to a 78-58 home win over Partizan mt:s Belgrade.
Individual highs: Ricky Rubio of Regal FC Barcelona, 8 assists
Mike Batiste’s 26-point effort against Lietuvos Rytas was the best of the opening week of Top 16 action. Batiste improved his overall scoring average to 13.6 points per game, including the regular season. Gregory and newcomer Esteban Batista of Caja Laboral led all Top 16 players with 14 rebounds. Last season’s Rising Star Trophy winner, Ricky Rubio, fueled the Barcelona attack on Thursday with 8 assists, more than any other player this week. Eight different players from seven teams swiped 3 steals to start the Top 16. Olimpija center Giorgi Shermadini’s 3 blocked shots were the most in the Euroleague this week. Gergory, Batista (10 points, 14 rebounds) and Lottomatica forward Vladimir Dasic (18 points, 11 rebounds) were the only players to register double-doubles this week.