The up and down season for the Fraport Skyliners continue, but with less than two months from the start of the playoffs, Frankfurt won´t move down, but have a legitimate chance of making the playoffs. The only problem is that they need to win some games against teams higher than them in the standings. The Fraport Skyliners continue to lose to better teams, but beat clubs that are below them in the standings. The Fraport Skyliners came into the game against Alba Berlin sporting a three game winning streak and added self confidence as they were seeking revenge for the early season loss on the road to Alba Berlin 79-66. Alba Berlin continue to cruise in the easyCredit BBL despite having the Euroleague stress, but with a roster that is so deep, they are able to compensate for the two gams a week. Alba Berlin entered the Fraport arena having won four their last six games and at times at risk of stumbling, but on this afternoon all it took was dominating two quarters to easily disposing the Fraport Skyliners 94-60. They showcased exactly what they are capable of doing outscoring Frankfurt 53-14 in the first and fourth quarters and in the other two quarters stumbled a bit being outscored 46-41. All in all it was another normal day at the office for the current easyCredit BBL champion Alba Berlin. “We did a good job integrating players back into the lineup. We also worked on new things. Frankfurt always plays hard and are a good defensive team. They did a good job turning their defense to offense. We locked down at the end and made our shots”, stressed 2013 NCAA champion Peyton Siva. For the Fraport Skyliners it was another typical game for them where they had great moments, but also disastrous moments as consistency continues to be a massive problem this season. They stunk up their living room at the start and end, but played spirited ball in between. “I didn´t like the way we played at all today. We have to play hard no matter who we play. Our biggest problem this season has been consistency. We will play one or two good quarters, but not the rest. We have to learn to be bale to play well for 40 minutes”, warned ex Rasta Vechta center Michael Kessens.
The Fraport Skyliners were shorthanded at the point guard position as German Konstantin Konga and American Joe Rahon were out while Alba Berlin were without German national player Maodo Lo. Both teams exchanged the first two baskets as Michael Kessens made four points while Alba Berlin got a lay in from ex MHP Riesen center Johannes Thiemann and Italian guard Simon Fontecchio. But Alba Berlin then took charge as they went on a lethal 15-2 run to take the commanding 19-6 lead. In the run the 19-3 ball club spread the ball around nicely getting scoring from many players. Peyton Siva who once played for the Detroit Pistons got his shooting stroke going making a trey, while Fontecchio scored 5 points, young German Malte Delow who was inserted into the starting line up made a lay in, ex ACB player Luke Sikma made a lay in and also fed a pretty alley-oop pass to 221cm giant Christ Koumadje. Alba Berlin had a nice offensive groove and just didn´t let up. Their ball movement was a beauty to watch and they worked very hard on the offensive glass getting numerous offensive rebounds that led to extra chances and baskets. Frankfurt was erratic on offense and coughed up the ball too many times. On defense they were overwhelmed by the Alba Berlin physicality and height. Especially by 221cm big man Christ Koumadje who had two blocks. “He takes up a lot of space. He also did a good job altering shots”, stated Quantez Robertson. Alba Berlin also did a good job not letting Frankfurt sniper Matt Mobley get into an offensive groove. Down the stretch, Alba Berlin got added offense from Swedish national player Marcus Eriksson who drilled a trey as did two time NCAA champion with UConn Niels Giffey. After 10 minutes Alba Berlin had the comfortable 25-10 advantage. “We weren´t aggressive on defense and weren´t talking. We had too many turnovers and gave up too many offensive rebounds”, stressed Quantez Robertson.
In the second quarter Alba Berlin led by as much as 17 points, but the Fraport Skyliners made a late run to cut the lead down to 45-35 at the break. Alby Berlin raced out of the gates with a lightening 6-0 run getting back to back three pointers from ex Kirolbet Baskonia Vitoria guard Jayson Granger and ex Bamberg center Louis Olinde for the overwhelming 31-10 lead. Luke Sikma showed his amazing passing skills as he made a cross court no look pass to Olinde who then made the extra pass to Granger. Sikma finished with four assists with each one more beautiful than the next one. “He is one of the better big men passers in the league”, warned Quantez Robertson. “Luke has been around basketball his whole life. He is so unselfish and has such a great basketball IQ”, stressed Peyton Siva. Frankfurt then demonstrated that at times they can also sparkle on the offensive end going on a swift 7-2 run to trail Alba Berlin 33-17. In the run, they got a trey from American Rasheed Moore who went from the Regionalliga to easyCredit BBL in only three years and two lay in´s by Matt Mobley. The two Mobley buckets were typical individual plays by him something that he strives at. Frankfurt didn´t let up, but continued to chip away at the Alba Berlin lead. They continued to get their opportunities on offense and executed well going on a 10-2 run as Quantez Robertson who has been shooting the ball very well in the last two games shooting 5/11 tested his 34% from outside and scored while Kessens made a tap in, Mobley a lay in on transition and Jon Axel Gudmundsson free throws cutting the Alba Berlin lead to 38-26. But Frankfurt just couldn´t find a defensive identity as Alba Berlin dominated with their physicality and with more help down low, Alba Berlin always had open guys on the three point line. That led to a three by Fontecchio and a jumper by Eriksson as Alba Berlin had the 10 point lead at half-time. “We were more aggressive on defense and talked more which led us to running the floor more and getting baskets”, stated Quantez Robertson.
The third quarter was even 21-21 as the Fraport Skyliners just couldn´t get over the hump, but cut the Alba Berlin lead down once to only six points. Frankfurt came out of the break refocused and quickly went on a 5-2 run to cut Alba Berlin´s lead to 47-40 as Kessens made a hook shot and Robertson hit another trey. But instead of keeping the momentum, Frankfurt fell into another rut something that happens countless times during a game allowing the guests on a 7-0 run to extend their lead to 54-40. Frankfurt had no solution how to slow down Eriksson who scored 5 points and Fontecchio scored inside. But Frankfurt just didn´t give up as they continued to execute well on offense and upped their intensity on the defensive end going on a 12-4 run to cut the Alba Berlin lead to 58-52. In the run the 2000 BBL cup champion got key support from ex FC Bayern Munich guard Bruno Vrcic and Quantez Robertson with lay ups and then got clutch three pointers from Gudmundsson and Mobley. Frankfurt was defending a lot better and Alba Berlin didn´t keep it simple, but played a bit too fancy turning the ball over and allowing Frankfurt to crawl back into the game. But Alba Berlin closed out the third quarter well getting a Sikma lay in and getting to the foul line three times with Thiemann twice and Giffey leading 66-56. “We just continued to run our stuff and maintain the lead”, said Peyton Siva. “They made a lot of open shots and tough shots and we continued to turn the ball over”, stated Quantez Robertson.
The Fraport Skyliners did a super job in the third quarter battling and staying in range, but within a few minutes in the fourth quarter, Frankfurt had lost the game down by 20 points and half way through the game were down by 30 points. Frankfurt was destroyed in the fourth quarter allowing 28 points and mustering only 4 points. Alba Berlin crushed Frankfurt going on a devastating 19-0 run and Frankfurt scored their first field goal at 4,45. Alba Berlin just continued to execute as if they were on a leisurely Sunday afternoon stroll in the park as Frankfurt couldn´t match their intensity. Alba Berlin began their scoring outburst with rapid 5 points from Jayson Granger. The onslaught continued with a Giffey two hand dunk, Siva lay in, free throws and trey, and added buckets from Granger, Giffey and Tim Schneider as Frankfurt was down and out 86-56. “We are a team that has to play well on offense with some added risk. We need to play physical and limit their tempo. They played cat and mouse with us. They have an outstanding basketball IQ and our help just wasn´t crisp enough”, stated Fraport Skyliners head coach Sebastian Gleim. Bruno Vrcic finally made Frankfurt´s first field goal after being outscored for 5,15. Alba Berlin played until the end getting added baskets from Eriksson, Olinde and Koumadje. “We continued to push the pace and wore them down. They have a lot of guys that have to play many minutes. We remained physical and kept Mobley off the line”, said Peyton Siva. “We weren´t tired, but just didn´t execute well enough. They got out in the open court, hit shots and made us pay”, stressed Quantez Robertson. Alba Berlin was led by Marcus Eriksson with 18 points and Peyton Siva added 14 points while Niels Giffey added 12 points and Jayson Granger had 10 points while the Fraport Skyliners were led by Matt Mobley with 14 points and Michael Kessens had 10 points. Alba Berlin shot 53% from the field and 36% from outside and had 44 rebounds and 20 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners shot 40% from the field and 25% from outside and had 23 rebounds and 23 turnovers.