UNICAJA MALAGA fought back from behind with a stunning 0-18 fourth-quarter charge to come back from a 13-point deficit against Valencia Basket last Wednesday and lift the 2016 7Days Eurocup Basketball Trophy.
In an all Spanish final before a noisy, sell-out crowd at the Fuente de San Luis in Valencia City, the home side were the favourites to win the final game of the three match final. But Unicaja’s defense held Valencia to a disappointing 4 fourth-quarter points.
The win also gives Unicaja a spot in the 2017-18 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague. Homegrown guard Alberto Diaz paced Unicaja with 12 points and was chosen as MVP of the finals. Bojan Dubljevic paced Valencia with 16 points.
Valencia outrebounded Unicaja 36-26, including 15 offensive boards, but suffered a poor shooting night, making just 12 of 33 two-point shots (36.4%) and 9 of 36 threes (25%).
Unicaja claimed its first continental title in almost 16 years – since winning the Korac Cup title in 2001 – and became the fourth Spanish team to lift the trophy. They also becme the first 7Days EuroCup newcomer to win the competition since Hapoel Migdal Jerusalem did it in 2004. Joan Plaza became the third coach to win multiple EuroCup titles.
This season’s 7Days Eurocup saw a change in format with the introduction of a best-of-three match final, played across seven days.
Valencia won the first tie at home 68-62, but lost the second match in Malaga 71-79, setting up an exciting third, winner takes all final game.
Valencia, on the back of an unbeaten run of 22 home games without defeat were the odds on favourites on the night and looked to be on their way to a famous victory until that stunning fourth quarter comeback from Unicaja.
They must now pick themselves up and return to the Euro League where their next match is home tie against Barcelona on Sunday.