The Roca Team has qualified for the semi-finals of the play-offs for the French championship on Saturday, May 18. The basketball team from Monaco is the defending champion, having finished at the top of the regular season by a landslide, and is the big favourite to become champion again. After the setback in the EuroLeague, in which the team was eliminated in the quarterfinals by Fenerbahçe last week, the question was how the team would present itself in the French play-offs against Le Portel.

Sasa Obradovic’s team had already won at home on Thursday (85-78) and recorded a clear victory at the northern French club on Saturday (70-101). It thus qualified for the semi-finals. Bourg-en-Bresse or Nanterre-92 will be the opponent in a battle over five matches. The final is scheduled in five matches between June 5 and 15.

It soon became clear that the difference in class between the two clubs would be too big, but Obradovic wanted to prevent his players from underestimating this game, so they might have to play a third (all-decisive) game in this round. For the first five minutes, the game in Le Portel (a suburb of Boulogne-sur-Mer) was evenly matched, but in the second part of the first quarter, the Roca Team already clearly distanced themselves, thanks to scores from Matthew Strazel and Alpha Diallo. The first quarter ended with a margin of eight: 15-23.

Immediately in the second quarter, a real hit was made thanks to Elie Okobo and Jordan Lloyd (who had three direct hits), making the score 21-40 after fifteen minutes. From that moment on, the Monegasques played a won game. In the end, the home team fought back creditably and so it was 37-47 halfway through the game.

The second half was more of a formality as Monaco kept the margin large, while Loyd and Strazel continued to distinguish themselves by scoring points. Elie Okobo and Yak Ouattara also shared in the production and so Roca Team drifted further and further away from the opponent. After the third quarter, the score was 58-75. In the last quarter, the national champion gave a demonstration to the crowd, which certainly appreciated the fact that the 100 mark was passed with the last score: 70-101. Jordan Loyd ended up scoring 32 points and was deservedly named the man of the match.