ALBA BERLIN collected their ninth German league crown – and first since 2008 – as they won the easyCredit BBL Final Tournament 2020 Finals with a 75-74 victory over MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg in Game 2.

Niels Giffey and Martin Hermannsson both tallied 14 points for Berlin, who took Game 1 by 23 points to power them to the title, which joins those from 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2008. Marcus Eriksson added 13 points and Landry Nnoko chipped in 12 points for ALBA, which won the Finals series 163-139 on aggregate to also lock up its first league-cup double since 2003.

Thomas Wimbush collected 19 points and 8 rebounds for Ludwigsburg, who were appearing in their first Finals. Jaleen Smith had 15 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals and Nick Weiler-Babb pitched in 14 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists in the loss. Ludwigsburg once again were playing without Marcos Knight, who missed Game 1 injured after having collected double-doubles in the previous four games and was named MVP of the tournament

Smith opened the game with the first score and Weiler-Babb’s three-ball gave Ludwigsburg a 9-5 lead early on. Berlin shrugged off their slow start as Eriksson drained back-to-back three-pointers and Kenneth Ogbe also hit from long range and Giffey converted a three-point play in a 16-2 run to move ahead 21-11 after 10 minutes.
Jacob Patrick drained a triple to start the second quarter for Ludwigsburg but Ogbe hit from long range at the other end to extend the margin to 26-14. Wimbush started to heat up for Ludwigsburg with two three-pointers among his eight points and Lukas Herzog converted a four-point play in a 17-9 surge to pull within 39-35. Malte Delow ended the first half with a three-ball for Berlin, who were up 42-35 at the break.

Hermannsson and Eriksson went back-to-back from long range to start the second half for a 48-35 lead. A Wimbush trey got Ludwigsburg within 51-42 but Giffey poured in nine points as Berlin pushed the cushion to 64-50. And it was 67-54 after 30 minutes.

Berlin’s lead was still 71-59 with 7 minutes left when Ludwigsburg started a comeback as Wimbush and Weiler-Babb sparked a 13-2 run to cut the deficit to 73-72. But Hermannsson secured the win with a layup.

QUOTES: Berlin’s Niels Giffey: “It feels really good. It was hard to keep calm the last few minutes of the game and win the last game. But it feels really good.”
“It was a really good season for us. We won what we could have won. We made the best of the tournament. And it feels good to leave with 10 wins.”

Berlin’s Aito Garcia Reneses: “It’s very good for ALBA BERLIN and for me too. We have always had good games in the Finals but this year was better because we were able to win the league and the cup.”
“All of the people in the club, not only the players and coaches, but also our fans, it’s very important. Everybody has a part of this. And it’s very good for us.”
(About future): “Today is the moment to celebrate what we have done. And we will have time to make a decision.”
“For the moment, I don’t want to say anything else than we are very happy to win the championship with ALBA.”

Berlin’s Luke Sikma: “It’s huge. We’ve been so close so many times and you start to doubt yourself a little bit. It’s just a testament to all the hard work that everyone put in. This is special for our fans back home, who really we really miss. They’ve been so huge for us. So this is for you guys. I hope we can celebrate soon.”
(About coach’s future): “I hope he stays. I think he knows that. But right now I don’t think we’re going to worry about that. We’re just going to worry about enjoying this tonight and maybe the next couple of days and we’ll go from there.”

Berlin GM Marco Baldi: “It’s really hard not being able to give a big hug to some of them. But my heart is entirely full. I know exactly what this means especially to our fans and everyone in the club who really works hard. It’s the same for me. We are very, very happy. I am very, very happy. But it’s a little subdued because you really can’t let it all go physically.”
(How it was to celebrate … even with masks on): “Everybody together put in a lot of work and a large investment and a lot of energy, effort and creativity to create something that the politicians would say that they support it. When you get this support, then it also calls for a certain humility to see it through and not go crazy at the end and think, oh, it’s not that important any more, and that you abide by it …. We have exciting times ahead of us, not that I want to talk about it today. We will certainly have the opportunity to appropriately celebrate. It will be a little bit different. And it’s very important for me that we will make good for it with our fans when it is somehow possible.”
(About Aito’s future): “For those who know him, they know how responsible-minded he is. He needs a little time and he needs to get it. He can stay with us as long as he wants. He will decide soon. And we must have the patience.”

Ludwigsburg’s Marcos Knight: “These guys have been with me the whole tournament and the whole season and we had a great season. It’s just an award to show how hard I worked. To any other young kid that’s working out there, never give up on your dreams, keep god first and everything else will work out for sure.
(Not being able to play Finals ): “This is probably the worst situation I have had in my career. I wanted to play with my guys but my guys understood where I was coming from. I played the entire tournament with a hurt foot. The last couple of days I could barely walk on my foot. So they understood and supported my decision for sure.
(About his future): “I don’t know. I’m going to go back and enjoy my family.”


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