The Roca Team can call itself champion of France from Thursday. The Monaco basketball team, which played at the fourth level in 2014, has claimed the highest prize in France for the first time. The team demonstrated exceptional class in the playoffs by winning all eight games, having already finished top in the regular season. On Court Philippe Chatrier, best known as the tennis court of Roland Garros but converted into a basketball arena for this occasion, the work of a whole year was completed. Roca Team defeated Metropolitans 92 91-85, having already won in Monaco on Saturday and Monday. Victory only came in a red-hot final phase when it had been behind for 36 minutes. 

Just like in the second game, Monaco had a difficult start and trailed 9-0 within two minutes. It was a good reason for Obradovic to call a timeout so early in the game. But the opponents from Boulogne-Levallois initially went even further out and made it 26-14 after six minutes, with John Loyd accounting for thirteen of Monaco’s sixteen points. After the first quarter, the score was still clearly in favour of the home team : 32-23. In the second quarter, both teams were well on target but the difference between the two teams remained. In the end, it was 53-44 at halftime. 

In the third quarter, Monaco upped the tempo under the leadership of Elie Okobo and Mike James and thanks to their points, the deficit was quickly reduced, but when the difference was still three points (64-61 after 27 minutes) the Metropolitans ran out again. The third quarter ended 70-63 for the home team.

The Monegasques knew they could still bridge the gap. Thanks to Okobo and Blossomgame, the pace was increased and four minutes before the end, Monaco finally took the lead with a three-pointer from Okobo. Things remained very tense after that until Jordan Loyd scored with a three-pointer with 50 seconds left (85-88).   

Roca Team would add four more points in the closing seconds to add lustre to the league title. This win may have been something of a hold-up for the home team, but Monaco is a more than convincing champion with a superior streak in the play-offs with two wins over Strasbourg, three wins over Bourg-en-Bresse and three wins over Metropolitans 92 ending all doubts. Monaco also won the Coupe de France in April, also for the first time in its existence.

The Roca Team is clearly Monaco’s most popular and successful sports team. 

PHOTO: Courtesy AS Monaco Basketball