Playing in the O2 World arena in Berlin is for many Beko BBL teams the highlight of the season as not only does one have the challenge of beating a top Beko BBL team, but one plays in one of the most modern, spectacular and amazing arenas in Europe. Plus one can measure one´s self against top players like David Logan, Leon Radosevic or Clifford Hammonds all the while not getting intimidated by the three time Yugoslavian world champion Sasa Obradovic. However for the Fraport Skyliners all these challenges seemed to be a bit in the shadow of the process of how the season has gone for the 2000 German cup winner. With the last game of the season in Berlin and totally meaningless for Frankfurt as in the past they had played very important playoff games in May, there were many questions on the minds of the players to where they could actually be in the standings on the last game day. Where would the team be today if Dawan Robinson had stayed the whole season and played as dominate as last season. Where would the Fraport Skyliners be if Andrew Rautins had played the complete season and dropped some more 30 point games on teams. Where would the team be placed if they had won a number of the six crunch time loses that was inflicted upon them. Where would Frankfurt be if Dane Watts had played the last six weeks and if Kevin Bright hadn´t been more injured and had been able to develop his game more. The Fraport Skyliners had to forgot what could have been for 40 minutes and play for pride and try to whip the butts of 8 time Beko BBL champion and go into summer vacation with their heads held high, but Alba Berlin was simply too much for the Fraport Skyliners winning 67-59 in a defensive orientated battle. After the game Cincinnati native Quantez Robertson had his typical post game face on and deflected any ideas that the game didn´t have some kind of meaning. “It was tough playing an opponent Alba Berlin in the last game of Marius Nolte and Sid. I thought we were motivated to play as hard as we could. I love the basketball competition against the other guys and just having fun”, smiled Quantez Robertson. For Alba Berlin the game had a meaning as they still had chances of overtaking Bamberg with them losing at home against Bonn, but that didn´t happen, but the players know that every game has a meaning for their three time European champion head coach Sasa Obradovic. “We were motivated as there is never any relaxation for Sasa Obradovic. He always wants to win and it was important to win, but with Bamberg winning, we now have a meaningless game against FC Bayern Munich Sunday, but where we will give everything”, warned ex Frankfurt Skyliner Alex King.
Alba Berlin came into the game in third place with a record of 25-7 and were riding a very strong eight game winning streak after having had a down period in February where they lost three of four games. Alba Berlin had a slow first half, but found their rhythm on offense in the third quarter and also displayed consistency on both ends of the court as the Fraport Skyliners were unable to find a way to combat it. Alba Berlin also were teasing Frankfurt all game long on the boards as Frankfurt was unable to match their intensity. “We fought hard for 40 minutes, but I have to give a lot of credit to the Skyliners. They played very well and hard despite injuries and having many young players. We fought hard against them and knew that they would cave in sometime and we took advantage of it. We took advantage of our offensive strength as Redding and Logan hit big shots. When you have guys of their offensive capabilities, it will always be to our advantage. Our ball movement also was very good”, stressed ex Telekom Baskets Bonn guard. The Fraport Skyliners entered the game in 11th place with a record of 14-19 and were playing spirited basketball as of late as they went into the Alba Berlin game with a three game winning streak having won games against TBB Trier, SC Rasta Vechta and the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven. The Fraport Skyliners played a very solid first half having the lead for the first 17 minutes until they allowed Alba Berlin to go on a little run. In the second half, the 2004 Beko BBL champion just couldn´t keep up with the intensity of the 2014 cup champion and couldn´t match their experience, versatility or depth. “We wanted to end the season on a good note in Berlin. We didn´t lose energy in the third quarter, but focus. We took bad shots and missed passes which doomed us. Overall we did a good job on defense holding Alba Berlin to 67 points. However we didn´t do a good job on defensive rebounds. But overall it was a decent effort on defense”, stressed Oklahoma native Jacob Burtschi.
Ex Frankfurt Skyliner Ibrahim Diarra was at the game watching his ex team play, while Alba Berlin had to play without Leon Radosevic and the Fraport Skyliners were without ex Vanderbilt guard Kevin Bright as both were suffering injuries. The Fraport Skyliners got on the board first as Danilo Barthel nailed a sweet hook shoot over 2008 ULEB Cup winner Jan Jagla. David Logan then connected on a catch and pop three pointer as ex Clemson point guard Cliff Hammonds set him up. Frankfurt started to defend aggressively from the bat which presented problems for Alba Berlin as they were forced to tough shots. The Fraport Skyliners took advantage of missed shots and stormed out on a 8-0 run to take the 10-3 lead. The run was started with a bang with back to back three point bombs from American Jarred Dubois and German Konstantin Klein. Klein then connected on free throws. Frankfurt was able to extend their lead to 14-5 as they did a super job drawing fouls as Klein and Burtschi hit free throws, while Canadian Levon Kendall made a reverse dunk getting fed by German Sven Schultze. Basketball continues to be a game of runs as Alba Berlin halted the Frankfurt run with their own 7-0 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 14-12. In the run Reggie Redding hit free throws, Vojdan Stojanovski made free throws and ex BG Goettingen guard Akeem Vargas dropped a three pointer on the fast break. It didn´t help the Frankfurt cause that Aziz Ndiaye was blanked at the free throw line. Ex Phoenix Hagen Forward Jacob Burtschi did end the first quarter on a good note hitting a three pointer as the Fraport Skyliners led 17-12. “Frankfurt started very well, something that isn´t easy to do her. Despite their injury problems this season, you could see that the young Germans play with mush confidence. Frankfurt defended very well, something that has always been a staple of head coach Gordon Herbert”, stressed ex Frankfurt Skyliner Ibrahim Diarra. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 33% from the field and 43% from outside while Alba Berlin was shooting 27% from the field and 40% from outside. Frankfurt had the 9-8 rebound edge, but six turnovers while Frankfurt had three turnovers.
In the second quarter, the Fraport Skyliners were able to keep the lead until the last minutes as the game remained tight. Jan Jagla really took control in the second quarter as his inside dominance brought back memories to the potent Kyle Visser play in Braunschweig where he gave a basketball lesson on how to control the boards. Alba Berlin started the second quarter with a 6-3 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 19-18. Jagla made two easy tip ins as Frankfurt was simply to soft inside and let the ex Penn State center dictate the play. Kendall made a fade away jumper over NDiaye and Quantez Robertson struck for a three pointer. Robertson kept up his three point shooting terror connecting on another from down town and David Logan who has played 101 Euroleague games scored inside as Frankfurt led 22-20. Even if Frankfurt got beat on the boards at times, they also made amends as Johannes Voigtmann scooped up an offensive rebound and made the put back as Frankfurt led 26-20. Alba Berlin then had some luck as big man Levon Kendall who has a nice touch from outside connected on a three pointer and Danilo Barthel made free throws as Frankfurt led 28-22. However Alba Berlin then scored 13 unanswered points to lead 35-28. Indianapolis native David Logan got hot hitting two nasty shots where Frankfurt defended him well making a step back and a catch and pop three pointer. Jagla got his third put back of the quarter as Frankfurt remained as lax on the boards as a linebacker who gets plowed over by a running back who has no authority to do so. Stojanovski ended the run sneaking inside for the simple lay up. Frankfurt was able to halt the run with 4-0 run as Robertson scored inside and a spectacular last second shot by Johannes Richter who weaved inside and ended with a finger tip roll in as Alba Berlin went into halftime with the 35-32 advantage, “Jan Jagla had a big quarter, but that was no surprise. He was the biggest on the court and should have been able to make those plays. Max Merz had some problems and then make a few turnovers and Alba Berlin will go on a run which they did”; stressed Ibrahim Diarra. Alba Berlin was shooting 40% from the field and 38% from the three point line and the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 41% from the field and 40% from the three point line. Alba Berlin had the 17-16 rebound edge and seven turnovers and Frankfurt had 10 turnovers.
In the third quarter, both teams had massive problems producing points as in the first six minutes only two field goals had been hit as Frankfurt had the 3-2 lead in the quarter itself. The game was wild as both teams were making turnovers at a high rate and Quantez Robertson made three steals in a span of two minutes to hinder Alba Berlin from breaking away. “Tez never stops no matter if were up by 30 or down by 30”, stressed ex Bremerhaven forward Jacob Burtschi. However with four minutes to play in the third quarter, Alba Berlin was able to break away ending the quarter with a 15-7 run to lead 52-42. Alba Berlin got free throws from Kendall and a huge three pointer from ex Tuebingen American Redding. Frankfurt was involved in too many individual plays as Dubois shot a hook shot airball and the club made some turnovers because of a lack of concentration. Alba Berlin continued to get to the foul line as Kendall connected and Hammonds who is playing in his sixth country as a professional nailed a three pointer as Alba Berlin led 47-36. In the last few minutes, Frankfurt attempted to chip at the Alba Berlin lead, but couldn´t get it down to 10 points. Konstantin Klein who bested his top scoring games against Bamberg and Vechta with 16 points in Berlin made an off balance shot with one second on the shot clock. Alex King who played a very controlled game penetrated from the wing and found Kendall for the easy bucket as Frankfurt trailed 49-38. Dubois then scored inside while King nailed a high rainbow three pointer and Robertson made two free throws as Alba Berlin led 52-42 after 30 minutes. “Alba Berlin upped their defense in the third and showed why they are such a good defensive team. We had no offense in this phase and they got going”, stressed Fraport Skyliner captain Marius Nolte. ”We had a good third quarter opening up the game that got us going to winning the game”, added Philadelphia native Reggie Redding. Alba Berlin was shooting 40% from the field and 43% from the parking lot while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 36% from the field and 36% from the parking lot. Alba Berlin was leading the rebound duel 27-21 and has 12 turnovers while Frankfurt had 14 turnovers.
In the fourth quarter Alba Berlin kept control of the game as the Fraport Skyliners made one last push in crunch time, but couldn´t limit turnovers at the end to make the game even more exciting as they couldn´t cut the lead down to less than seven points. Alba Berlin started off the fourth quarter with a 4-0 run to lead 56-42 as the big men Jan Jagla and Johannes Wolfarth-Bottermann scored buckets in the zone. Frankfurt also connected on offense, but couldn´t really make any ground as they were unable to get consecutive stops on defense. Robertson found an open Voigtmann on the pick and role for a dunk, but Hammonds hit a turn around shot and Klein followed with a three pointer as he saw a second of daylight and shot, but Frankfurt couldn´t make any ground as they trailed 58-47. King then made a tough turn around shot over the taller Voigtmann as Alba Berlin led 62-49. Frankfurt then made one last push going on a 6-2 run to trail Alba Berlin 64-55 as Barthel and Klein connected on free throws, Redding made a fade away shot and Klein snuck inside for the easy basket. With a minute to play, Frankfurt sought one last breath of hope as Barthel nailed a three pointer as Frankfurt trailed 65-58. However Nolte came on the floor for his last minutes in his professional basketball career missing free throws and making a turnover as Redding made him pay with a step back jumper sealing the win for Alba Berlin. “Redding was big in the fourth quarter showing why he was a MVP candidate. He hit big shots and is a big piece to their success and why he is here and not in Tuebingen”, stressed Jacob Burtschi. “Experiencee helped us get this win today. In so many situations, Sasa Obradovic knows which player should have the ball and what decisions should be made. We stayed calm at the end and hit our shots”, stressed ex s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg forward Alex King. “From the middle of the third quarter until the end, we got away from executing and didn´t make the easy plays. We missed shots, but also passed up easy shots. We didn´t do a good job boxing out”, warned Quantez Robertson.
Alba Berlin were led by David Logan and Levon Kendall with 12 points a piece. Reggie Redding contributed 11 points and Jan Jagla added 10 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Konstantin Klein with 16 points. Quantez Robertson and Danilo Barthel produced 10 points a piece. Alba Berlin finished the game shooting 43% from the field and 40% form outside while the Fraport Skyliners shot 39% from the field and 37% from outside. Alba Berlin dominated the boards 36-28 and had 16 turnovers while Frankfurt had 18 turnovers. It was the last game for Paderborn native Marius Nolte who was sad after the loss about playing his last game, but also looked forward and is looking forward to see what the club will do in the next season. “The German players developed and with Tez and Burtschi on board, I am convinced that we will have a successful season next year. We made a good step this season and now we will see where it will take us”, stressed Marius Nolte. The biggest fighter and biggest heart remains to Quantez Robertson and he was a big reason why his teammates followed his lead this season. “We fought every game, played aggressive each game, left it on the floor and won and lost as a team. I think our future is great. Our goal will be the playoffs and looking to play cup and play for a championship”, warned Quantez Robertson