The Roca Team’s European season is not over yet. The Principality side recorded a beautiful victory at Fenerbahçe on Friday, May 3 in front of the gates of hell and has earned the right to play a fifth game on Wednesday, May 8 in front of a home crowd against the Turkish champion. The team of coach Obradovic, who still had to do without John Brown this time, escaped elimination in the final phase of this game in Istanbul, but held on well in a mainly defensively focused game. In any case, Monaco has the prospect of the Final Four in Berlin at the end of this month.

The outlook was not good for the Roca Team, as it started the fourth game in these play-offs with everything to play for. Obradovic had therefore opted for a more defensive tactic against Fenerbahçe, which had made a physically strong and compact impression in the previous three matches, and always managed to strike at the right time. In the Ülker Sport Hall, optimism and self-assurance were evident among the Turkish public.

In the first quarter, both teams were balanced in the first five minutes, but after that, the hosts got ahead by 12-4. Thanks to a three-pointer by Mike James and some quick attacks, half of this deficit was erased within the first quarter. After ten minutes, the scoreline stood at 15-11.

Still, Fener seemed too strong. In the second quarter the Turkish side ran further away from the Monegasques (24-14). However, the momentum shifted in favour of the Monegasques when Elie Okobo made three three-pointers to erase the deficit within two minutes (30-30). At the end of the first half, Fenerbahçe took the lead again (33-30).

Immediately after the break, the hosts went a bit further ahead (39-33), but then the Roca Team threw more energy into the game and finally took the lead in the 26th minute thanks to three-pointers by Yakuba Ouattara and Donatas Mutiejunas in quick succession, and finally took the lead after the end of the third quarter (47-48).

In the last quarter, the Monegasques struggled, as Fenerbahçe quickly turned the deficit into a solid lead (52-49). The Roca Team now had no time to lose, after the difficult experiences earlier in these play-offs with the Turks. Thanks to precious points from Alpha Diallo, Elie Okobo and Donta Hall, the game suddenly turned around, and the visitors reprised the lead with seven points in a row (52-56), to the surprise of the crowd. Fener fought back (57-58), but a great save Hall prevented another deficit, and in the next attack Mike James scored with a three-pointer (57-61).

It seemed to be a psychological blow for the Turks, but Fener fought back and trailed by one point (62-63) with seventeen seconds to go, when Roca Team lost possession due to a foul by Mike James. The hosts had a chance, but Skottie Wilbekin’s attempt was not on target. On the counterattack, Roca Team threw the game into the lock (62-65), when the victory was already certain.

The relief of the Roca Team is no doubt great, as an elimination after four games in these play-offs would have been very sour. Obradovic’s team had lost the first game in the series in overtime in front of a home crowd at the Salle Gaston Medecin in Monaco. This victory serves as compensation for that.

The Serbian coach was very pleased after the match, commenting that “My team played a very good game today under difficult circumstances and was especially strong defensively. Fener is almost never beaten at home and the fact that my team has managed to do that certainly makes me proud. We learned from the previous games and today we didn’t make the mistakes we made before. The team was very strong as a collective today. I hope this win gives us enough confidence for the next game.”

Featured image courtesy of @ASMonaco_Basket on X