ALBA BERLIN moved a giant step towards the Finals of the easyCredit BBL Final Tournament 2020 after blowing away EWE Baskets Oldenburg 92-63 in Game 1 of the Semi-Finals.

Peyton Siva collected 19 for Berlin, who would have to lose by 30 points in Game 2 on Wednesday June 24 to not reach their third straight Finals. Marcus Eriksson drained 5 three-pointers in scoring 17 points for the winners while Martin Hermannsson collected 12 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists, Luke Sikma had 11 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals and Johannes Thiemann chipped in 11 points as Berlin search their first league crown since 2008.

Rasid Mahalbasic did manage 23 points and 9 rebounds and Nathan Boothe scored 17 points, but it was not enough for the 2009 champs Oldenburg, who are hoping to get revenge for losing the German Cup Final to Berlin earlier this season.

The big man combo of Mahalbasic and Boothe put Oldenburg up 4-0 to start the game. Berlin struggled out of the games, missing their first six shots before Rokas Giedraitis finally got them on the board. Sikma and Eriksson followed with three-pointers and three points from Hermannsson made it 11-8 for Berlin. Oldenburg went back ahead but Thiemann hit a three-ball and was followed by two straight treys from Eriksson and Berlin led 22-15, which was 22-17 after 10 minutes.

Boothe and Mahalbasic scored early in the second quarter but Kenneth Ogbe was the next Berlin player to hit from outside for a 27-21 cushion. Berlin then held Oldenburg scoreless for 3:17 minutes and Siva scored seven points in a 9-0 run for a 38-25 advantage. Mahalbasic countered with seven straight points in getting Oldenburg within 40-33. Siva picked it back up with five straight points in another 9-0 run to finish the first half ahead 49-33.

ALBA tallied the first six points of the second half and the lead swelled to 20 points – 53-33. Mahalbasic and Boothe were once again there with two points each but Sikma and Eriksson went back-to-back from long range and the margin was 63-37. Oldenburg managed a mini 8-3 spurt but Berlin punched right back with a 6-0 run to close the third quarter ahead 72-45.

Mahalbasic tried to get Oldenburg at least a little closer knowing there is another 40 minutes in Game 2 as he picked up four points to pull within 74-51. But Sikma and Hermannsson both hit from long range to push the gap to 82-51. And Berlin made sure they didn’t let up like they did in the Quarter-Finals against BG Göttingen.

QUOTES: Berlin’s Marcus Eriksson: “We are very happy. We played with good intensity the whole game. We played good defense. We hustled and we managed to get a lot of loose balls and rebounds. But it’s just the first half and we have another game in two days.
(What does a 29-point lead for Game 2 mean): “We still want to play our game. We will think it’s 0-0 when we go into the second game and try to do our best. Against Göttingen we relaxed a little bit and we don’t want that to happen again.”

Berlin’s Johannes Thiemann (if that was Berlin’s best game so far in the tournament): “I think so. I think we played our game today. We got things rolling and hit our shots. I think it was very, very fluid, and yeah, it was a very good game from us.”
(Surprised about lack of fight from Oldenburg in the second half): “I would describe it a lack of resistance. I think we played well.”

Oldenburg’s Rasid Mahalbasic: “I think we reached our maximum. The tournament was new for us. We prepared well. Alba was definitely the better team. Including the bench, they all played and all performed. And we just slept through it all today. You can’t really say that much more.”


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