Weekly roundup for our English-speaking fans by David Hein.

Week 2 - October 1st 2013

Brose lose Champions Cup, welcome MBC – with Markota

Brose Baskets missed a chance to start the 2013-14 season with a title as they lost the Beko BBL Champions Cup 79-78 to Alba Berlin on a layup by David Logan with five seconds to play. Brose’s Sharrod Ford had a chance to win the game but his three-pointer from the right corner went off the rim.

Bamberg now look forward to the tip-off of the Beko BBL season with the home opener on Wednesday October 2 against Mitteldeutscher BC – with new acquisition Damir Markota expected to play.

The Champions Cup in Berlin’s o2 World was a back and forth affair as neither team led by more than seven points. Alba jumped ahead 18-12 and 24-17 in the first quarter, which ended with Bamberg down 24-20. There were four ties in the second quarter and Berlin had the lead 38-37 at halftime.

Bamberg improved their play in the third quarter and took their biggest lead 55-50 thanks to three-pointers by Anton Gavel and Casey Jacobsen. But Brose watched as Akeem Vargas and Logan both hit three-balls in the final 34 seconds of the quarter to go up 56-55 after three periods.

Berlin seemed to have an answer every time Bamberg got close and were ahead 75-71 with just more than two minutes left. Brose, however, forced Berlin into two misses from long range and used a 7-0 lead to take the lead 78-75 on Ford’s three-point play with 49 seconds remaining. After a Berlin score, Ford missed a triple attempt with 14 seconds. Berlin grabbed the rebound and didn’t call a timeout but instead passed to Logan, who drove the length of the court and hit a layup with five seconds on the clock. Ford had a chance to win but missed his three-pointer from the corner.

“The Champions Cup was a very good test run for the season. We can take quite a bit out of that. We played really well with a very new team. Certainly, we’re not as far as we would like to be, but I think we can improve greatly in a short period of time,” said Brose coach Chris Fleming.

Rakim Sanders led Bamberg with 19 points and grabbed six rebounds while Ford collected 11 points, six rebounds and four assists. Karsten Tadda hit for 10 points and Zach Wright had eight points, three rebounds and three assists.

Bamberg saw their run of Champions Cup titles snapped at three as Berlin collected their second crown following 2008. Brose have won four of the eight Champions Cup games played.

Now it’s time for Fleming and his team to focus on the start of the season and the defense of their four straight Beko BBL titles. It all begins on Wednesday October 2 at home against MBC.

“They are coming here and won’t have any pressure. I think the games at the beginning of the season are especially difficult. It will be a good challenge for us. We need to play with energy from the start,” said Fleming about the team from Weißenfels, who finished 16th in the standings last season with a 13-21 record in their first campaign back in the Beko BBL.

Silvano Poropat’s MBC had a strong pre-season with wins over New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig, medi bayreuth and Czech side BK Decin though the Wolves lost their last test against Austrian side Kapfenberg Bulls at home 68-63.

“Altogether, I am satisfied with the development of the team in the preparation stage. We had good performances especially against Quakenbrück (a 78-76 loss), Bayreuth (90-67 win) and Braunschweig (87-73 victory). If we show our good side, I am very optimistic for the season,” said Poropat on the club’s website.

The leading weapon for MBC is summer addition Josh Parker, who led the ProA in scoring last season with Bayer Giants Leverkusen (28.5 ppg). Another leader is fellow second-year professional forward Angelo Caloiaro.

Bamberg fans will finally get to see new acquisition Damir Markota in action after the club signed him on a three-month deal with an option for the rest of the season.

“He’s a player who understands things pretty quickly. I think he’s far enough that he can help us,” said Fleming of Markota, who was brought on while Novica Velickovic works on his fitness level.

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