ALBA Berlin's strong finish to the season gives its fans plenty of hope when they look into a future based on several strong performers who can serve as serious building blocks for the team going forward.
Season in review: ALBA Berlin
ALBA had some major injury problems early in the season and struggled through January, winning just 22.2% of its games. After that, however, the team went on a run that even put it in the playoff race until the penultimate week of the season. ALBA won eight of its last 13 fixtures and with three games left was still in the hunt for a playoff spot. While making that playoff push behind the play of backcourt duo Maodo Lo and Jaleen Smith, ALBA registered late-March wins over two other playoff-chasers, Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade and Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul, passing those teams in the standings. Eventually, ALBA ended up with a 12-16 record in 10th place, just two wins short of reaching the playoffs.
ALBA's most impressive win came during that strong finish, too, a 90-75 triumph over Final Four-bound Olympiacos Piraeus in Round 29. A couple of factors made the win so impressive. Olympiacos, still chasing home-court advantage in the playoffs, was on a four-game winning streak before arriving in Berlin, a run that had seen the Reds beat Anadolu Efes Istanbul, AX Armani Exchange Milan and FC Bayern Munich. Such a highly motivated and confident opponent stood no chance against ALBA, though, not with Maodo Lo hitting 5 of 6 triples for 27 points. As a team, ALBA shot 13-for-21 from long range and dished 24 assists. Lo and Tamir Blatt, had 7 assists apiece. It was fourth consecutive win for ALBA and its most impressive of the season.
At 29 years old and in his sixth EuroLeague season, point guard Maodo Lo was a well-known commodity in the competition. Playing in his hometown last season, however, Lo took a significant step forward, settling himself among the league's best all-around guards. Lo posted career-best numbers in several categories. His 13.3 points per game were nearly 4 points better than his previous high and ranked him 15th among all EuroLeague players. Only one player ahead of him in scoring – Nikola Mirotic – shot the ball better from three-point range, where Lo made a total of 67 three-pointers on 44.4% accuracy. He also averaged career highs in assists (3.7 apg.), rebounds (2.3 rpg.) and average PIR (14.8).
Against all expectations, even his own, rookie Oscar da Silva wasted no time to make his presence felt on EuroLeague floors last season. This 23-year-old power forward posted 8.8 points while making 62.4% of his two-point tries and pulling down 3.5 rebounds per game. He stormed out of the gate, posting double-digit PIRs in each of his first eight appearances in the competition and averaging 14.3 points over that span. ALBA's forward fully showcased his ability to make moves inside, make plays above the rim, and hit shots from the outside. Not even a year removed from college when the season tipped off, Da Silva was one of the biggest breakout players during the 2021-22 season, showing that he has a bright future ahead of him.