The French side played outstanding defense in the opening and final period to overpower its German opponent.
Nerveless ASVEL prevailed at ALBA after great start and finish
LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne celebrated its second road win of the season in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague after firing on all cylinders in the first and the fourth quarters to subdue ALBA Berlin 68-73. After a rollercoaster contest, Gianmarco Pozzecco’s side improved to 2-6 while Israel Gonzalez’s squad dropped to 1-7.
The French visitors, which are yet to win at home this season in Europe’s premier club basketball competition, conceded just 13 points in the first quarter and the same number in the fourth to come out on top after throwing away a 15-point lead.
The impact of Pozzecco
ASVEL then erased a 7-point deficit late in the third quarter with a 2-19 run, which handed Coach Pozzecco his second victory in four games at the helm. The energetic Italian tactician clearly reinvigorated the team as the French outfit looks a different prospect since he took over.
“It was a tough game and I am really happy because we never gave up,” Pozzecco said during the post-game press conference. “I came here a month or so ago after the club had suffered a series of losses, and that makes it very difficult for the players.
“But they are really focused and play with so much passion. We played an unbelievable fourth quarter, having been able to stay ahead even after Nando De Colo got injured.”
Flipping the script late on
ASVEL turned a 55-48 deficit late in the third quarter into a 57-67 lead midway through the fourth and although ALBA closed the gap to 68-70 in the final minute, the visitors held their nerve and mobbed Coach Pozzecco in delight after the final buzzer.
De Colo scored 16 points, while big man Youssoupha Fall racked up 14 and 11 rebounds. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot paced the winning team with a game-high 19 points.
Despite yet another tough loss, ALBA boss Gonzalez put on a brave face. “It’s a difficult moment for us and it’s painful for the players,” he commented. “We feel we could have done better, especially in the first quarter, as we made a really bad start. We paid the price, but this is a moment when we all need to stick together and be on the same page.
“Everyone is putting in the effort, but we are not playing well. We can only push on with what we’ve got and hope for a change in fortunes.”