BC FMP stepped on the pedal in the last quarter to roll into the ULEB Cup quarterfinals by defeating Gran Canaria of Spain 70-64 at home in Belgrade, Serbia on Tuesday to sweep their eighthfinal series 2-0. In the series opener in the Canary Islands, FMP had survived by four points (84-88). Gran Canaria held big early leads and even late in the fourth quarter was ahead 57-60, a basket away from winning the series. The deciding factor was 5 straight points by Aleksandar Rasic in the next-to-last minute that turned the game and the series in FMP's favor. FMP will now meet Hapoel Migdal, which swept Ventspils, in the quarterfinals. Zoran Erceg led the winners with 23 points and Rasic was the only other double-digit scorer, with 11 points. For Gran Canaria, Marcus Norris led the losing effort with 16 points, while Sitapha Savane and Hunter posted 10 apiece.
Two days after winning its national cup, FMP opened its rematch with Gran Canaria badly. Jim Moran scored first for the visitors and Savane added 6 straight points inside. Still, the score was tied 8-8 thanks to Erceg and Bojan Krstovic of FMP. When Norris fired a bomb from downtown, Gran Canaria led 6-II and had taken back the advantage in the aggregate score. Krstovic struck back with a triple and Erceg with layup as FMP tied 11-11. Mario Fernandez and Moran scored from behind the arc now to push the guests way out in front, 11-18 after 9 minutes, but Krstovic managed to cut the gap to I4-I9 at the end of first quarter. FMP opened the second quarter with 4 straight points but Roberto Guerra answered with triple and a fastbreak layup to keep Gran Canaria ahead by 4 points. FMP tried a smaller lineup but the guests punished it with a bomb from Norris to lead 21-27 after I5 minutes. FMP switched to a zone defense, but the guests were scoring from the paint now. Kornel David hit twice from the foul line and Gran Canaria led 24-32. The same margin remained until the end of the first half. Gran Canaria went to the break leading 28-36 thanks to much better defense, rebounding and three-point shooting, in which the guests were 5-for-I0 from downtown so far and FMP just 1 of 8.
FMP started much stronger in the second half. Rasic hit a three-pointer and added an assist to Erceg. A minute later, Rasic was whistled for a technical foul that the guests turned into 3 points and 35-41lead. After one more defensive effort, FMP made a 5-0 run to cut the difference to a single point, and finally in minute 27, Erceg tied it up, 43-43. Gran Canaria answered with 0-6 run but Milos Teodosic made his own 4-0 run to which Branko Cvetkovic added a triple that pushed FMP into the lead at 50-49. However, that only lasted until Jimmie Hunter slammed, leaving Gran Canaria a point ahead, 50-51, after three quarters. When Milos Teodosic downed a triple and Djordje Micic a layup, FMP led again by 55-53. Savane and Norris struck back with 7 straight points, setting up the dramatic final minutes with a 57-60 lead for Gran Canaria. Erceg tied as 3,000 fans jumped to their feet and stayed there to watch the final 2 minutes. Predrag Samardziski gave a lead to FMP by scoring from the foul line and Rasic scored key triple in the next-to-last minute. With 35 seconds left, he added 2 free throws. FMP led 66-62 and could start thinking of its opponent in the quaterfinals.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007