CSKA Won Champions Cup

Sergey Monya (photo G.Philippov)
Today in the city of Novi Sad the Champions Cup tournament finished up. In the final game, CSKA defeated the Italian club Skipper.

Skipper - CSKA: 79-85

The Champions Cup final, held in the Novi Sad, drew about the same number of spectators as the group-play game against the Belgrade club Red Star. It seems the foreign names didnt attract a great deal of attention, though the tournaments lineup was pretty formidable.

Without the opportunity to root for their own team, the Serbian fans, who came to the Vojivodina arena were very hospitable, cheering equally for both teams. For understandable reasons, they cheered loudest for Milos Vujanic, Mirsad Turkcan and Dragan Tarlac. During the introductions, CSKA gave their opponents souvenir with the clubs logo, brought in especially from Moscow for the final.

The first five minutes were evenly played, while a basket from Alexey Savrasenko was answered by Stefano Mancinelli, putting Skipper up for the first time in the game. Thanks to the active play of Mancinelli in the middle of the first quarter Skipper took the initiative. Belgian center Van Den Spiegel was especially effective for Skipper under the basket and on the boards. CSKAs main weapons - American guards J.R. Holden and Marcus Brown - were having problems. But on defense they were able to handle the Italian guards - Milos Vujanic and Gianluca Basile, who scored all of 13 points between them on the night.

At the beginning of the second quarter, it looked as if CSKA managed to find its rhythm, but then the team committed several errors, and Skipper went ahead by 8 points (35-27). Dusan Ivkovics team in the preseason has shown that it is able to come back from big deficits. And that was the case tonight. Brown began to heat up, and Sergey Monya helped him out, knocking down 3-pointers. And with a second remaining in the half, CSKA Greek guard Theodoros Papaloukas put the team up 47-49.

Having come back, CSKA didnt stop there, despite the fact that Holden wasnt hitting and Mirsad Turkcan was called for several fouls. The Turkish forward wasnt able to finish the game, eventually fouling out. Skipper was dealt an equally harsh blow, losing Van Den Spiegel the same way. At the same time, Russian fans appeared in the stands, yelling "CSKA is Champion!" Going into the final quarter, CSKA led by 7 points (60-67).

In the fourth quarter it became clear that the Army team would be able to hold onto the lead. During one possession the Italians hammered Sergey Monya. Sergey, having missed the shot, stood up and played while the crowd applauded him. It became clear that he was all right when he caught a Viktor Khryapa pass and threw down a dunk. The final buzzer went off with CSKA up 85-79, securing the win. The crowd stood up and cheered the champions.

Tomorrow Ivkovics club will fly to St. Petersburg to play in the Vladimir Kondrashin and Alexander Belov Cup, which starts on Sept. 27.

The reigning Euroleague champion Barcelona was the surprise disappointment of the tournament, finishing in last place.

3rd-place game:
Panathinaikos vs Red Star: 86-95 (24-27, 28-18, 12-23, 22-27)

P: Batist (14), Middleton (13), Jones (12), Kalaitzis (12), Tsartsaris (10), Lakovic (10)
RS: Jeretin (24), Bogdanovic (20), Mirkovic (14), Dozet (9), Freeman (8)

5th-place game:
Barcelona vs Unicaja: 63-65 (18-20, 13-16, 19-16, 13-13)

B: Fucka (11), Grimau (11), Bodiroga (9)
U: Kornegaye (12), Rodriguez (12), Sonko (11), Darren (11), Risacher (9)