Alba Berlin has managed its first Euroleague victory in the fourth game of the regular season. Benetton Treviso was the victim, beaten by Alba 89-83 in another unpredictable Group A game. Troubled by injuries throughout the last weeks, the comebacks on-court by team captain Henrik Rödl and Stefano Garris provided Alba with a fighting spirit that was too much for Benetton to overcome. After 25 minutes, the decisive break was led by young Stefano "Nino" Garris, who seemed unstoppable, and together with Alba's usual leading scorers Wendell Alexis (19 points) and Derrick Phelps (18) became the crowd hero. Alba raised its record to 1-3 while Benetton fell to 2-2- Leading scorers of Treviso were Tyus Edney and Bostjan Nachbar with 20 points each.
Alexis and Phelps took matters into their own hands for Alba during the opening minutes, scoring 11 points and sending Benetton forward Jorge Garbajosa to the bench already with two early fouls after 3 minutes. But on the other end of the court Alba could not stop either Bostjan Nachbar or Sergei Chikalkin, so the home team's advantage was just 14-11. Then Alba missed some lay-ups and got 3 three-pointers - by Marcelo Nicola, Massimo Bulleri and Mario Stojic - as an answer, which put Benetton suddenly in front, 17-22, after 9 minutes. It was up to team captain Henrik Rödl, back from injury, to step on-court and save his team with five points so Alba could go into the second quarter down only 22-24. From that point on, defense set the tone on both ends of the court. The crowd of more than 5,000 in the Max-Schmeling-Halle saw the lead changing nearly every minute. Garbajosa came back, but only to receive his third foul. But Benetton was drawing fouls too, and getting the job done at the foulline, where it made 14 of 17 attempts. But Alba had answers from long distance as Phelps hit 2 three-pointers and Sven Schultze one to force a 44-44 tie at the half.
Tyus Edney opened the second half with 5 quick points for Benetton. But Alba, without George Zidek, who received a hand-injury in the first half, found it could rely on back-up center Teoman Öztürk. Alba more and more took the game under control as another come-back was celebrated by the crowd. Stefano "Nino" Garris, with his four-point-play at the end of the third quarter, opened a real thunderstorm in the Schmeling-Halle, not to mention a 64-58 lead for the home team. Another two by Garris and a three-pointer of Schultze gave Alba after 30 minutes the first real lead of the game 69-60, and its best chance at a Euroleague victory all season.
Wednesday, October 31, 2001