The BBL playoff finals are set as Deutsche Bank Skyliners finished off the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven 3-2 in their best of five series by winning on the road 56-52 in overtime. In the finals, the 2004 champions Frankfurt will take on 2005 and 2007 BBL champions and 2010 German Cup winners Brose Baskets Bamberg, which host the opening game on Sunday. The other BBL teams are already looking at personnel for next season as Alba Berlin have brought back to the BBL German international Sven Schultze while 2009 league champs and 2010 regular season winners New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig ponder the future, and new TBB Trier coach Henrik Roedl wants more action from 20-year-old center Maik Zirbes.
Skyliners reach third finals in club history
The Deutsche Bank Skyliners of Frankfurt booked a spot in the BBL finals for the third time in club history by holding off Eisbaeren Bremerhaven 56-52 in overtime to take Game Five and win the series 3-2.
Derrick Allen made two free throws with five seconds left to secure the victory for Frankfurt and coach Gordon Herbert, who led the club to its only title in 2004. The 2005 finalist Skyliners will face off against 2005 and 2007 league champions Brose Baskets Bamberg in a repeat of the 2010 German Cup final, which Bamberg won in April.
Game One of the finals will take place on Sunday in Bamberg.
“It was a dramatic game. We are really happy now,” said Frankfurt sports director Kamil Novak after the game.
“Of course the series cost us a lot of energy. But it’s the playoffs and you have to give everything you have.”
Andrew Drevo nailed a three-pointer with 1:05 left in regulation to knot the game at 51-51 and Aubrey Reese missed a come-back attempt at the buzzer to force overtime.
Quantez Robertson hit a three-ball early in the extra period to make it 54-51 and missed two free throws with 21 seconds to extend the lead before Allen’s foul shots.
Allen led Frankfurt with 15 points while Louis Campbell was top scorer for Bremerhaven with 20 points.
Where, when will Game Three be played?
There is a major dispute going on regarding Game Three of the BBL finals, which was re-scheduled from Sunday, June 13, to Saturday, June 12 after television partners Sport1 announced it could not broadcast live on Sunday.
The game was originally planned for Sunday and Bamberg’s Jako Arena is booked for a wedding on Saturday, meaning the game could take place in nearby Nurnberg, where the BBL has reserved the arena for the contest.
Both Frankfurt and Bremerhaven management declined playing the game on Friday, June 11.
A BBL court will rule on Saturday June 5 where and when the game will be played.
Bamberg are strictly against the scheduling move.
“The league has reserved the gym in Nurnberg. But we will definitely not play there,” said Bamberg manager Wolfgang Heyder.
“Moving the game to Nurnberg would cost us 60,000 euro. But losing the home court advantage could impact the championship and participation in the Euroleague. The league is acting completely arrogant in this case.”
Sven Schultze returns to Germany, Alba Berlin
German national team captain Sven Schultze will be returning to the German BBL as Alba Berlin signed the 31-year-old on a two-year deal starting next season. The power forward arrives from Carife Ferrara in Italy back to Berlin, where he played from 1998 to 2002.
“I am very happy to be back in Berlin and come to Alba. After five years abroad, it’s nice to be back in Germany,” said Schultze.
“Much has certainly changed at Alba since I was there the last time. But I will get used to things quickly. I would like to do my best to help the team and bring the title back to Berlin.”
“Sven Schultze has always been a strong candidate for our team the past couple years. I am happy things worked out this summer and he’s coming to us,” said Berlin coach Luka Pavicevic.
“A player with his attitude and personality can always be used in an ambitious program like ours.”
The Bamberg native Schultze, who has played 103 times for Germany, won four German league crowns and two German Cups during his time with Alba.
Karsten Tadda extends deal with Bamberg
Between the semifinals and finals of the BBL playoffs, Brose Baskets Bamberg reached a two-year contract extension with German guard Karsten Tadda until 2012.
The 21-year-old defensive specialist, who came up through the Bamberg youth ranks, had offers from other clubs but decided to remain loyal to his hometown club.
“Why should I turn my back to my home if I can play here. I am working here with a good coach and I am with my family,” said the Gundelsheim native.
“Karsten is a player with a big future in Bamberg. His defensive and offensive energy played a big part in us getting through our very difficult start to the season,” said Bamberg coach Chris Fleming.
Phantoms Braunschweig ponder future
New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig are finally feeling the financial pressure of playing winning basketball. The 2009 German champions won the BBL regular season before bowing out in the semifinals. And now Phantoms management are looking how to keep their main leaders with the team.
Braunschweig’s main goal will keep as many players together as possible to establish the team in the playoffs. After reaching the semifinals in 2002-03, the team dropped to 11th place the next season and was eventually relegated in 2005-06 – though they remained in the league thanks to a wild card.
“Back then, the team was very expensive and the costs of the playoffs were not in healthy relation to profits,” said the club’s financial boss Norbert Ruescher in the Braunschweiger Zeitung.
But things are better this time around as the club’s sponsors are much more excited as the moment, Ruescher added.
With more success, the players will become more expensive. In addition, another German required on the game roster makes things a bit more difficult.
One main player Braunschweig would like to keep is German national team playmaker Heiko Schaffartzik, who has an out option in his deal. A help in keeping Schaffartzik would be if Phantoms play internationally next season.
Roedl expects Zirbes to take more responsibility at Trier
TBB Trier’s new head coach Henrik Roedl expects 20-year-old talented center Maik Zirbes to play a bigger role for the team next season.
“I have already talked to him and he should take over more responsibility and get more playing time. Maik can develop well, but he still has a lot of work to do. But we naturally want to help him advance,” the 1993 European champion Roedl told the Pfaelzischer Merkur.
Roedl, who just signed a three-year deal, thinks Zirbes will not be spending much time with the second division ProA side Saar-Pfalz Braves on his double license – like he did last season.
“If he continues to play as he has, it will be very difficult for him to play somewhere else on a double license. I see him more in the first division,” added Roedl.