A little more than a week ago German wonder boy Isaac Bonga saw the sides of two worlds once again as the sky is the limit for the 17 year special talent was able to broaden his horizons again something he has been able to experience time in and time out if it was playing in the basketball without boarders tournament in Lithuania or shooting the breeze with New York Knick Justin Holiday at the 2017 NBA allstar weekend in New Orleans. Bonga skipped off the sold out court in Ulm of 6,000 plus people having played the most BBL minutes this season with 26 contributing six points, four rebounds and three assists in a narrow 90-84 defeat to ratiopharm Ulm and 20 hours later, he was brought back down to reality that his basketball life isn´t only a bed of roses as he departed the floor in Munich a defeated young man as he had to accept the bitter 75-44 NBBL loss against the International basketball academy Munich with only 200 people in attendance and had ran around like a mad man leaving his heart on the floor having played 38 minutes filling up the stat sheet like a mini Lebron posting seven points, six rebounds, seven assists, four steals and one block. With his BBL season over, Bonga wanted to make his last season goal of reaching the NBBL top 4 in Frankfurt reality, but he as well as his teammates had to really show what they were made of, dig deep down within themselves and play with heart. Bonga wanted to avenge his unsatisfactory 3/18 shooting in Munich and at the same time force another do or die meeting with Munich and other German super talent Oscar Da Silva who dropped 59 points and 35 rebounds in the two game playoff series against Urspring and can continue to tell his friends that he will be attending Stanford next fall and play at the alma mater of ex Bamberg legend Casey Jacobsen. It was no secret that this special do or die game would bring out the best in Bonga and Da Silva as they combined for 40 points and 24 rebounds, but the International basketball academy Munich also known as IBAM came out on top escaping Frankfurt with a hard fought 61-60 victory. As the buzzer sounded, the few Munich fans that had made the trip jumped up in excitement as if lightening had struck them and star player and young phenom Oscar da Silva was calm, but one could see in his eyes that he was not only relieved, but also very proud for reaching the NBBL Top 4 tournament. “I am very happy about getting this win in Frankfurt. We never stopped fighting and played with high intensity. We came back through our good defense which helped us get transition baskets and that was key for the win”, stressed future Stanford Cardinal Oscar Da Silva. For Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners, it was a very successful season, but their goal of reaching the NBBL Final 4 in Frankfurt was not met and one could easily read the frustration of the players on their faces. Especially for team second top scorer Konstantin Schubert it was a disappointing way to end his NBBL career. “We knew that we could of won this game. Game one was depressing, but we had a different face today and defended very well against very good individual players. But when you only score 60 points, it will be difficult to win. We didn´t do much wrong on defense, but didn´t rebound well in the first half and when they couldn´t hit from outside, we were unable to stop their penetration”, stressed Fraport Skyliner Konstantin Schubert. “They switched to zone in the second half which gave us problems and took us out of rhythm”, added Fraport Skyliner Isaac Bonga.
The first quarter displayed the normal kind of NBBL jitters as both teams had their problems scoring while getting their defense in gear. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners had the better start getting into their sets and executing thus lifting their self confidence after the embarrassing game one loss. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners got some vital scoring in bunches early on as ex TV Langen guard Niklas Pons showed his explosiveness inside using his quickness for two easy lay ups while German Oliver Babitsch tested his 35,9% three point percentage nailing a high rainbow from the corner as Isaac Bonga got the assist. The International Basketball Academy Munich got production from Da Silva and 19 year old 185cm guard Johannes Klughardt who played the last three seasons at TUS Urspringschule to cut the Frankfurt lead to 7-4. That The International Basketball Academy Munich can defend is something they have shown all season long having kept teams to 70 points or less 15 times and stopped Frankfurt on three possessions and went on an annoying 10-0 run to get the 14-7 advantage. In the run, 18 year old Oscar da Silva got going using his extreme athleticism that he has for 206cm scoring inside twice and 17 year old 206cm Fynn Fischer also scored inside as the guests were doing what they wanted inside against Frankfurt getting easy baskets. Fraport Skyliners head coach Gordon Herbert was spending his first day of summer vacation watching the game and was impressed by Da Silva. “I watched him on film when I was looking at Richard Freudenberg. He has a good flow to the game and is a good team player. Sometimes it seems like he is doing more than he really is. Stanford will be good for him. They play in a good conference and if you get a degree from there then it means a lot”, stressed Gordon Herbert. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners stopped the run as Isaac Bonga closed out the first quarter with a runner and free throw to trail the The International Basketball Academy Munich 14-10. “Both teams shot very bad from the perimeter. Munich was very big and physical and we had problems rebounding the ball”, stressed Gordon Herbert. The International Basketball Academy Munich was shooting 43% from the field and 0% from outside while Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners was shooting 31% from the field and 14% from outside. Munich had the 12-5 rebound edge, but five turnovers while Frankfurt had four turnovers.
In the second quarter Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners started to make their comeback as there were three lead changes, but in the last four minutes, they stepped up their basketball and led by as much as six points. The real key was German Konstantin Schubert who had been out for a month with an ankle injury having missed the first four playoff games and was no where near 100% on this night, but came out in the second quarter on fire as if he had never been injured. The German gave the team the needed energy and scoring punch coupled with Isaac Bonga who had a better control of the Frankfurt offense as his playmaking was a big reason for them being able to get through the Munich defense. These two German figures Bonga and Schubert were mainly responsible for the quick 7-2 start as they grabbed back the lead 17-16. Schubert was present and deadly in the paint scoring twice and Bonga got to the free throw line twice. 18 year old 188cm point guard Dimitrije Mrda then made a sweet fade away jumper that saw nothing but net as Munich led again 18-17. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners continued to keep their offensive rhythm and went on another run scoring nine points to extend their lead to 26-20. Schubert continued to be lethal in the paint while Bonga scored free throws, ex USC Freiburg center Cosmo Gruehn made a big tip in while 16 year old 175cm German energizer Alvin Oniya hit a floater. In the last minutes, The International Basketball Academy Munich got buckets from Fischer while Frankfurt had Bonga set up Gruehn for an easy basket and then made free throws as Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners led 31-25 at the break. “The Frankfurt defense picked it up forcing more turnovers and Schubert did a good job coming off the bench and giving key baskets. Bonga wasn´t 100%, but still did a good job despite being keyed in on by the Munich defense”, stressed Gordon Herbert. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners were shooting 36% from the field and 10% from the three point line while The International Basketball Academy Munich were shooting 38% from the field and 0% from the three point line. The International Basketball Academy Munich still had the rebound lead at 22-15.
The third quarter couldn´t have been more exciting as both teams continued to battle and there were 9 lead changes as they were going back and forth, but after 30 minutes, The International Basketball Academy Munich was trailing 44-41. That aggressive International Basketball Academy Munich defense went back to work helping them carve a 7-0 run to regain the lead 32-31 as they stopped three Frankfurt possessions. The International Basketball Academy Munich continued to create havoc inside as Da Silva and 19 year old Anthony Okaro who came from the BG Goettingen organization got buckets inside and Johannes Klugahardt dropped a trey. Then the two teams changed leads as much and as quickly as FC Bayern Munich had lost their 2-1 lead to Borussia Dortmund losing 3-2 in the end in the cup semi-finals last week. Bonga, Da Silva, Gruehn, Fischer, Schubert, Mrda, Bonga and Ballhausen all gave their teams the lead. Schubert tied the game at 41-41 with a free throw, but it was Alvin Oniya that saved the third quarter nailing a long trey as he waited until Mrda was up, moved to his left and drained the shot for the 44-41 lead. “We had a small lead, but we couldn´t come to terms with their zone. It was an open game at this point”, stressed Konstantin Schubert. “We stayed in the game and concentrated on defense and finished inside as our outside shooting continued not to work”, added Oscar Da Silva. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners were shooting 31% from the field and 23% from the parking lot while The International Basketball Academy Munich were shooting 35% from the field and 7% from the parking lot. Munich still had the 34-28 rebound edge, but 12 turnovers while Frankfurt had 10 turnovers.
Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners seemed in semi control for the most part of the fourth quarter, but lost control at the end as they just couldn´t close out the game. Both teams opened up the fourth quarter with 4-0 mini runs as The International Basketball Academy Munich got a bucket from Da Silva and Fischer free throws while Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners got Schubert free throws and a cute Bonga finger-tip roll in for the 48-44 lead. Twice Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners got huge baskets from Schubert and Gruehn to grab the four and five point leads, but every time it was Da Silva who would bounce back with two key buckets inside to cut the Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners lead to 53-50. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners missed two easy finishes inside which the guests took advantage of as Mrda went coast to coast for the lay in and Da Silva got another easy bucket inside for the 54-53 lead. After Babitsch made one free throw to dead lock the game at 54-54, it was Mr work horse Da Silva again scoring inside this time over Bonga for the 56-54 lead. Gruehn then found Pons cutting inside for the easy pass and lay in to tie the game at 56-56. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners then really fell asleep as the little 188cm guard Mrda snuck inside getting his own offensive rebound and making the put back for the 58-56 lead. With less than two minutes remaining, Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners stayed tough and got a super clutch trey from Schubert and Bonga free throw for the 60-58 lead. However with less than 20 seconds remaining, it wasn´t Da Silva, but Mrda draining the huge three for the 61-60 lead. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners had 14 seconds remaining and one last chance, but Bonga missed a fade away shot from close range and Gruehn had one last chance with 1,6 seconds remaining but his trey didn´t want to fall ending the NBBL Top 4 dreams of Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners. “Mrda is our magic kid. He is always somewhere between crazy and genius on the court. We know what he is capable of and that he can make those shots. He has amazing court vision and at times the fans stand for his passes, but he didn´t show so much of that today. We did a good job with our switching defense and that worked well on the last shot of Gruehn”, stressed Oscar Da Silva. “We did a good job taking Mrda out for the most part, but he made key shots in the fourth. On that last play, we had three options with Bonga getting the lob pass and I was the second option. I was totally open. It was a shame I couldn´t get the ball”, stressed Konstantin Schubert. After the battle, Bonga was stretching in the corner and national teammate and friend Oscar da Silva greeted the German and exchanged some words. Both have the utmost respect for one another. “I have a personal competition with him, but we are friends. He didn´t find his rhythm in game one, but had a great game two and is a great player. The best thing that Isaac does on the court is make his teammates better”, stressed Oscar da Silva. Bonga not only described what it was like playing against Da Silva, but his own season summary. “It is always great to play against a friend and good player and have good competition. He is a good guy and will do well at Stanford. He will have a good chance to get playing time there. I am happy with my season and was able to develop further playing for 3 teams. I feel my shot improved the most”, added Isaac Bonga. The International Basketball Academy Munich were led by Oscar da Silva with 22 points and 15 rebounds. Dimitrije Mrda and Fynn Fischer added 12 points a piece. Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners were led by Isaac Bonga with 18 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Konstantin Schubert produced 17 points and Cosmo Gruehn had 10 points. The International Basketball Academy Munich shot 39% from the field and 10% from outside while Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners shot 32% from the field and 28% from outside. The International Basketball Academy Munich won the rebound battle 46-38, but had 15 turnovers while Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners had 14 turnovers.