The Roca Team’s European season threatens to end earlier than would be expected based on the regular season of the EuroLeague. AS Monaco Basket suffered the second defeat in this series of confrontations with Fenerbahçe on Wednesday, May 1, and must not lose in the fourth game in the swirling Ülker Sports Arena of Istanbul on Friday, May 3, otherwise it will be eliminated. With a victory on Friday, coach Sasa Obradovic’s team will have everything back in its own hands, as the eventual all-deciding final game will then be played in Monaco.

Still, the current situation is a setback for the team, which will mostly regret the unnecessary defeat a week ago. The team did not play a bad game in Istanbul but was pressed against the ropes like a boxer in the second quarter and had to face a deficit from that moment on. It couldn’t get rid of that damage thereafter.

The Roca Team got off to a daring start and even led 19-21 after the first quarter, thanks in part to the successful three pointers by Mike James and Jason Blossomgame, and because the industrious Donatas Motiejunas collected valuable points. However, Fenerbahçe went from strength to strength in the second quarter, and ran over the Monegasques within a few minutes. After seventeen minutes, the score was even 45-37. In the end, halftime was reached with a score of 47-40.

Obradovic’s team started the second half energetically, and seemed to catch up quickly, reducing the deficit by 53-51, but each time Fenerbahçe ran away when the Monegasques wanted to take a break. In fact, at this stage of the game, they were trailing behind a deficit that kept going up and down like a yo-yo, but the difference still stood at 11 points by the end of the third quarter: 69-58.

In the fourth quarter, the Roca Team fought back again with a run of seven points in a row, from 75-64 to 75-71, but the team was unable to continue. In this phase, Alpha Diallo distinguished himself with some highlights. Diallo would go on to become the top scorer of Roca Team in this game with 23 points. With the score standing between 83-78, there was still a glimmer of hope with two minutes to go.

The Turkish fans only saw their own team score in the last minute to make the final score 89-78. These are especially hard numbers because the Principality side, which finished third in the regular season, now seems to be physically lacking in this confrontation with the Turkish champion. Can Obradovic inspire his team to strike back after this defeat? We’ll know the answer by Friday night. 

Featured image courtesy of @ASMonaco_Basket on X