Olimpia completes the first part of the championship final in Bologna in Race 2, starting from the great defensive test of the debut. The team obviously remained in Emilia and trained in the afternoon at PalaDozza, the historic facility in the center of Bologna which represents a lot in the history of the club because in 1966 it was the theater of Olimpia’s first European title. The success of Game 1 is of course important, but in a best-of-seven series it is only a step forward. Olimpia imposed itself by commanding practically for 40 minutes straight, deserving the victory, and also overcoming the problems deriving from a mediocre evening of shooting, the first in the playoffs, in which they shot 3 out of 23 from three (1/13 in the first time, 2/10 in the second, only Gigi Datome hit the target from the bow). It was possible thanks to a great defensive hold, which stained the opponent’s shooting percentages, and to an excellent rebounding test (50-41). The score was very low, but especially in the first half (28-27), because already in the second half he was closer to normal (38-35). The battle was physically massive. Ben Bentil came out bruised in the final, with his left knee, but the strong forward from Milan will try to play anyway.
NOTE – Race 2 will be played on Friday 10 May at 9 pm at the Segafredo Arena in Bologna, live on Eurosport 2, Rai Sport, Discovery +. Race 3 and 4 will be played at the Mediolanum Forum on Sunday 12 and Tuesday 14 June at 20:30. Tickets are sold out for both matches.
KYLE HINES – “Defense has been our main feature throughout the season and it is also against a great attacking team like Bologna. It’s a series of seven games, each of which can be different, but I expect them to come to play an even more physical Game 2 and try to play better. We will have to be ready “
SHAVON SHIELDS – “We played with a lot of energy in Race 1 and we will need the same energy in Race 2, because they will come back even more prepared. We will have to match their intensity to try to reach another victory ”.
SERGIO RODRIGUEZ – “In Race 1 we did a good job, but it is a series of seven games and we have to think about one game at a time, knowing that none will be easy. When there is so much tension, this kind of pressure, it’s never as easy to play as brilliantly as I’ve been doing in the last month. Tomorrow will be another physical match, we will have to keep the same attention ”.
THE MATCH REFEREES 2 – Carmelo Paternicò, Michele Rossi, Guido Giovannetti.
RACE 1: VIRTUS-OLIMPIA 62-66 – Low score especially at the beginning when Olimpia scored 11 points in five minutes and two in the second five minutes of the first period while remaining in the lead. The most effective was Kyle Hines in converting Sergio Rodriguez’s assists (seven at the end). Shavon Shields scored all of his 18 points in the middle quarters. In the third he led Olimpia’s escape which, with the complicity of Datome and Rodriguez, reached a 13 advantage, 10 (50-40) at the end of the period. In the fourth quarter, Virtus attempted a comeback and returned to minus two. At that moment, Bentil set two free throws and Datome signed the points of the new extension, then protected by the two free throws centered by Hall.
GAME NOTES – With seven assists in Game 3 Sergio Rodriguez now has 355 in his career with Olimpia, fourth ever. With 10 points and 10 rebounds, Kyle Hines has placed the first double double of his Italian season. Now the balance of the direct clashes in Bologna is 56-37 for Virtus, 106-87 in absolute. In Milan, the balance is 69-22 for Olimpia but there were also two games on neutral ground, quarter-finals of the Italian Cup, in Turin in 2012, won by Olimpia, and in Florence in 2019, also quarter-finals , with victory of Virtus.
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