DKV Joventut send a message that echoed all around the continent and advanced to the ULEB Cup semifinals by thrashing Pamesa Valencia 77-67 in an all-Spanish showdown at Palavela in Turin, Italy on Thursday night. Joventut is now set to face Galatasaray Cafe Crown in the first semifinal on Saturday at 18:30 CET while Pamesa, the first-ever ULEB Cup champion in 2003, has been eliminated from the fight to win the competition. Demond Mallet paced the winners with 16 points. Eduardo Hernandez-Sonseca added 14 while Ricky Rubio had 12 for Joventut. Shammond Williams led Pamesa with 25 points while Ruben Douglas added 17. Williams kept Pamesa within 17-16 late in the first quarter, but his team went scoreless in the next 8 minutes. Meanwhile, Rubio, Mallet and Barton fueled a mamooth 19-0 run that broke the game open, 36-16. Joventut stayed ahead from that moment and a midcourt bomb by Pau Ribas gave his team its biggest margin, 61-37, after three quarters. Williams took over with a rain of three-pointers early in the fourth quarter but it happened to be too little, too late for his team.
Joventut had a surprise starter in teenager Pere Tomas, but it was Pamesa that got rolling first. A pair of Joventut turnovers led to a layup by Williams and a four-point triple-plus-free throw by Ruben Douglas at 0-6. Joventut got on the board with a hook shot from Jerome Moiso and a reverse layup from Rubio. Joventut head coach Aito Garcia Reneses took out Fernandez after his first foul, while Moiso tied it up 6-6 his team with a reverse layup. A triple by Williams put Pamesa in front again, but Ferran Laviña blasted his own to tie, 9-9, for Joventut. The shootout from downtown continued with Mallet of Joventut and Fred House of Pamesa trading triples. Mallet came back, however, and struck again from the arc to make it 15-12 Joventut. Fernandez returned and fed Hernandez-Sonseca for a dunk, after which the scoring stalled until Williams made 2 of 3 free throws and a jumper following the offensive rebound to get Pamesa back within 17-16. Joventut finished the quarter stronger, however. Laviña drilled another three-pointer, Mallet scored inside and Lubos Barton went 3 for 3 at the line to vault Joventut to a 25-16 lead after 10 minutes.
Sonseca had a big block on Albert Miralles, as Pamesa could not find its rhythm in offense. Both teams went scoreless in the opening three minutes of the second quarter, however, as Joventut tried to run its offense through Fernandez without much success. Joventut was all over the place in defense while an alleyoop layup by Barton gave his team its first double-digit lead, 27-16. Pamesa called a much-needed timeout, but Sonseca made free throws while Rubio followed a bomb from downtown with a fast break layup to break the game open, 34-16. Pamesa kept missing one shot after another while Sonseca took over with a power basket that made it a 20-point game, 36-16, after a mamooth 19-0 run. Pamesa had missed 9 straight shots and committed 6 turnovers until Williams struck from downtown. Moiso had a monster block on House's dunk attempt that allowed Jan Jagla to score in the other end. House took revenge with a driving layup and fed Dejan Milojevic for an easy basket for a 38-23 Pamesa deficit. Fernandez sank a corner triple off a Joventut timeout while Mallet struck one from the top of the key. By the time that Douglas joined the three-point shootout, he only managed to get Pamesa within 44-26 at halftime.
Pamesa needed a major comeback early in the second half to get back in the game and Mindaugas Timinskas tried to ignit one with a corner three-pointer but Jagla stepped up with a put-back layup for a 46-29 Joventut lead. Douglas made free throws, as Pamesa improved its defense early in the third quarter. Joventut did not panic, however, and started to play with long possessions. Fernandez made 3-for-4 free throws to restore a 18-point Joventut margin, 49-31. Pamesa tried a small lineup and Garces scored around the basket but Mallet answered from downtown for a 52-33 Joventut lead. Pamesa did not give up, as Victor Claver scored in penetration but Rubio provided a highlight with a left-handed layup, Joventut only allowed its opponents to trade baskets now. Joventut kept executing its game plan to perfection, with outstanding defense and a patient offense to keep its lead alive. Barton grabbed a loose ball and dunked it for a 56-35 lead. Moiso shined with a reverse layup while Miralles dunked it in the other end. Ribas fired in a buzzer-beating midcourt shot to seal the outcome, 61-37, after three quarters.
There was little that Pamesa could do now, but it get fighting to please its fans. Joventut had Fernandez and Rubio already resting on the bench for the semifinal game against Galatasaray. Williams struck from downtown and added a fallaway jumper to get Pamesa going, but his team trailed 64-42 with 8 minutes to go. Albert Oliver also buried a three-pointer that Williams followed with another one from beyond the arc, good for a 64-48 Pamesa deficit. A red hot Williams buried his third triple in as many minutes to give Pamesa some hope, 64-51, with 6:45 remaining. Joventut called timeout but Milojevic scored in the paint to make it an 11-point game, 64-53, after a 3-16 run. Sonseca dunked it and soon added free throws but Douglas joined the three-point shootout to keep his team alive, 70-59. Sonseca stayed unstopable inside but Stanko Barac dunked it for Pamesa. Rubio scored off a backdoor pass but Douglas got Pamesa even closer, 74-64, with 3 minutes to go. Pamesa ran out of time, as Joventut kept using long possessions and powered the offensive board to make it to the next round.
Thursday, April 10, 2008