ALBA BERLIN struggled to find their rhythm but finally put away FRAPORT SKYLINERS with a second half run for an 81-72 victory to start the easyCredit BBL Final Tournament 2020 in Munich. Peyton Siva bookended the deciding 19-3 run spanning the third and fourth quarters with three-pointers as Berlin avoided a similar slip-up to start the tournament as FC Bayern Munich and HAKRO Merlins Crailsheim experienced on Day 1.

Siva led the way with 16 points – including 4 three-pointers – 5 rebounds and 4 assists while Landry Nnoko had 13 points and Marcus Eriksson added 11 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists in the Group B game. Frankfurt hung with Berlin but could not come out with the win despite Gytis Masiulis scoring a team-high 14 points and fellow newcomer Yorman Polas Bartolo added 12 points.

Masiulis opened the scoring for Frankfurt while Stefan Peno answered for Berlin in his first game since February 2019. Richard Freudenburg and Lamont Jones both hit three-pointers as Frankfurt surged ahead 9-2. Bartolo picked up two baskets and a Matthew McQuaid triple had Frankfurt up 21-11. The gap was 23-16 after 10 minutes.

Berlin had the better start to the second quarter with a Nnoko three-point play and three-pointers from Siva and Jonas Mattisseck to knot the game 28-28. Bartolo and Len Schoormann both hit from the outside at the other end and Frankfurt were up 36-30 as the Skyliners defense was holding strong against Berlin. Alba roared back to tie the game again 36-36 but Frankfurt were up 39-37 at the break.

Frankfurt scored the first four points of the second half – Freudenberg once again blowing past Luke Sikma for the dunk – and led 43-37. Berlin answered with a 7-0 run featuring two inside scores from Nnoko to nose ahead 44-43. Frankfurt punched right back with seven straight points and led 55-49 after a Masiulis dunk. Siva sparked another Berlin comeback with a three-pointer and steal and layup to start a 10-1 run to lead 59-56, and the score was 59-58 after three quarters.

Martin Hermannsson, Eriksson and Siva drained long balls to start the fourth quarter and Berlin were up 68-58. Hermannsson added another three-pointer and the lead was 75-66, but Frankfurt had one more run left in them as Joe Rahon cut the gap to 75-72 inside the final minute. Berlin came up with the dagger – of course with Siva being involved, dishing to Luke Sikma for a layup to make it 78-72 with 31 seconds left.

QUOTES: Alba’s Johannes Thiemann: “It was hard work. At the beginning we were not awake enough. We gave up a lot of offensive rebounds. They were more physical than us. Luckily we did better in the second half. We had our run and brought it home.”

Frankfurt’s Quantez Robertson (about his shoes): “I came down for the rebound and the bottom of my sole just ripped apart. So I had to get some more shoes.”
“We made some mistakes down the stretch. We didn’t talk well on defense, and we didn’t execute offensively.”

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