It is already tough enough for fans to be excluded from the arena´s this season, but even worse is when you can´t experience the top teams like FC Bayern Munich or Alba Berlin which is the top ticket each season or simply to sit back and enjoy a battle between two easyCredit BBL legends Rickey Paulding and Quantez Robertson. They share 26 BBL seasons between them and have had so many unforgettable duels over the last 12 years, that one can only pray at the end of the season that they will return next season as they have 74 years of age between them. Quantez Robertson would never miss a battle with Paulding and remembers his favorite moment with him. “He is definitely in my top 3 best opponents. I am always up for the task of guarding him. Especially a guy of that caliber that can shoot the three, mid distance and get to the rim. My best memory with him was last season when we did that interview. We had this stare down, but it didn´t last very long. After half a second, we started to laugh”, stressed Quantez Robertson. Rickey Paulding and the EWE Baskets Oldenburg won the first meeting 86-69 as Paulding had 16 points and Robertson only 2 points. Oldenburg came to Frankfurt in fourth place with a 22-8 record while Frankfurt was reeling off a loss in Bonn and had a 11-19 record. The EWE Baskets are fighting for third place with FC Bayern Munich and want to close out the season as best they can, but they were fortunate that Frankfurt was depleted with injuries and COVID cases, because they didn´t always play their best basketball, but their offense always had an answer when Frankfurt was trying to threaten. After the win, Mr Oldenburg Rickey Paulding was happy the team won and having had another meeting with Quantez Robertson. Both easyCredit BBL legends had a brief meeting after the game. “We always talk about family. I commended him on being a leader and how much I admired him for his work with the young guys. Frankfurt was in a tough situation and we worked on some things like our zone and helping Mahalbasic in the post when he was double teamed. Frankfurt really battled. You have to tip your hat to them”, stressed ex Missouri(NCAA) forward Rickey Paulding. The Fraport Skyliners were severely undermanned again for the fourth straight game and did they best they could, but just couldn´t put a dent into the Oldenburg offense. “Rickey and I talked about our situations. He told me he will play next year and I told him that I still have to talk to management about a new contract. It was tough for us, because we played 3 games in a week. We fought as hard and as long as we could. They hit a lot of three pointers and we gave up zoo many offensive rebounds and second chance points. I thought we executed and moved the ball well at times”, stressed ex Auburn(NCAA) guard Quantez Robertson.
The Fraport Skyliners continued to be without three COVID cases with Michael Kessens, Len Schoormann and Bruno Vrcic while Matt Mobley was still out with an injury while the EWE Baskets were missing their defensive energizer Nathan Boothe. The Fraport Skyliners began high spirited forcing Oldenburg to a turnover and then executed on their first possession on the pick and roll as ex Miami(NCAA) center scored a floater with the dime going to ex Braunschweig guard Joe Rahon. But the EWE Baskets Oldenburg didn´t waste anytime moping about their turnover as they hit Frankfurt with a 9-0 run. In the run, the 2015 BBL cup winner received a four point play from ex ratiopharm Ulm guard Philipp Schwethelm, a trey from ex Boston Celtic Phil Pressy and a pretty runner by Rickey Paulding. Oldenburg was forcing Frankfurt to contested shots late on the shot clock. Oldenburg continued to execute well as ex Bamberg guard Karsten Tadda who played his 500th game hit a three pointer and Paulding remained aggressive making an incredible catch and pop turn around shot and then played some cat and mouse with Frankfurt as he went give and go with Rashid Mahalbasic and finished with a thunderous one handed dunk and 17-7 Oldenburg advantage. Oldenburg was displaying amazing ball movement that reminded one of the magical Skyliners team of 2015-2016 that played the same kind of game with Jordan Theodore and the two German twin towers Johannes Voigtmann and Danilo Barthel. Frankfurt just couldn´t keep up with the Oldenburg ball movement on defense as they were always a step slow and didn´t have good communication. In the last 4-5 minutes, the EWE Baskets Oldenburg had problems executing on offense, but it didn´t hurt them as Frankfurt couldn´t take advantage of it on offense. After 10 minutes the EWE Baskets Oldenburg led 19-9 as they had gotten some solid production form young German Norris Agbakoko who cleaned up on the glass. “We played a little better in the second half of the first quarter. We slowed down their offense. Taking more time off the offense limited their offensive touches”, stated Quantez Robertson.
In the second quarter the EWE Baskets would gain their biggest lead of the game and led by 19 points at the break. 16 year old Joshua Bonga who is the younger brother of Isaac Bonga of the Washington Wizards really has profited from the Skyliner COVID cases and played his third BBL game in a row and scored a beautiful tap in alley-oop as Joe Rahon gave him the perfect pass. Frankfurt cut the Oldenburg lead to 19-11, but the guests struck back like a strike of lightening going on a swift 8-2 run to extend their lead to 27-13. In the run they got vital support from their bench as ex Louisiana State University (NCAA) guard Keith Hornsby made a lay in, ex Trier guard Sebastian Herrera drilled home a trey and ex KK Cibona VIP Zagreb forward Tomislav Gabric also dropped a trey. As quickly as the guests would give a rapid dose of offense, they also were just as quickly able to be scoreless for a 2-3 possessions which gave Frankfurt the opportunity on offense to execute which they did as ex wiha Panther Rasheed Moore hit Oldenburg for a three pointer. But Oldenburg were simply too powerful as they let their ball movement go into total effect finding great shots as they went on a 13-5 run to extend their lead to 40-21. In the run, the guests got the three ball rolling as Hornsby, Mahalbasic and Pressy all connected. They also got a 15 footer from Paulding and a lay up from Herrera. Frankfurt spent a lot of attention on Mahalbasic making it tough on his touches in the paint, but being that he is an exceptional passer if not best big man passer in the BBL, Oldenburg always had open guys and they took full advantage making their shots. Joe Rahon continued to play a good offensive first half as he found Quantez Robertson for an alley oop lay in and then also made a three pointer, but the EWE Baskets Oldenburg still had the very comfortable 45-26 advantage at half-time. “We came into the game with a different defensive strategy on Mahalbasic sending another guy to him when he had the ball. We didn´t rotate well. They always had open players and they made their three´s”, said Quantez Robertson.
The Fraport Skyliners played their best quarter of the game in the third winning it 16-14, but after 30 minutes the EWE Baskets Oldenburg still led 59-42. The Fraport Skyliners came out of the break red hot going on a swift 9-2 run to cut the Oldenburg lead down to 47-35. In the run the Fraport Skyliners received key support from Rasheed Moore who supplied 5 points on a trey and lay in while Kamari Murphy made a runner and a big alley-oop two handed dunk as ex Davidson(NCAA) guard Jon Axel Gudmundsson served up the stellar pass. In the run, Quantez Robertson got his 2000 BBL rebound off a Paulding miss. “I didn´t even know I got it until the announcer said it in the arena. It was an awesome moment”, smiled Quantez Robertson. The EWE Baskets played extremely sloppy on offense playing totally untypical of what their capable of forcing too much and not calming down and simply allowed Frankfurt to hang around. But the EWE Baskets Oldenburg displayed their ability to produce instant offense whenever Frankfurt was trying to threaten as they rallied going on a 8-2 run to lead more comfortable again at 55-37. In the run the guests let it rain three´s again as Tadda and Hornsby connected and Mahalbasic made a runner. In the last minutes the Fraport Skyliners got some help from farm team player Philipp Hadenfeldt and Rasheed Moore with buckets while the EWE Baskets got some baskets inside on the penetration from Herrera and Schwethelm. “We got sloppy. Coach did get on us after the quarter. We tried to work on our zone. We didn´t move the ball the way we should of”, stated Rickey Paulding. “We didn´t fight hard enough on defense. When we did get closer, we then weren´t able to finish at the rim or make our open shots”, added Quantez Robertson.
In the fourth quarter the Fraport Skyliners began well again, but then couldn´t get over the hump and cut the Oldenburg lead under 10 points. The Fraport Skyliners struck with a 5-0 run as Moore nailed a trey and Murphy scored on transition as Frankfurt showed unselfish basketball. Quantez Robertson made the steal and could of made a lay in, but dished the ball to young German Alvin Onyia who then made the extra pass to Murphy who finished with another dunk as Frankfurt trailed 59-47. Then as usual the EWE Baskets Oldenburg took matters into their own hands again after Frankfurt was somewhat pressing going on a 9-2 run to extend their lead to 68-49. In the run, Oldenburg got important support from Phil Pressy who made a one handed dunk and three pointer while Paulding got into the offensive act once again with a finger tip roll in and free throw. The 183cm guard Pressy was thrilled with his dunk. “I had a nice dunk against Munich this season. I try to get 1-2 dunks per year. I have to save some for Oldenburg”, laughed Phil Pressy. Both teams kept scoring down the stretch. Keith Hornsby who had had a tough first half where his shots didn´t want to fall made up for it in the second half especially in the last minutes of the fourth quarter making 7 points. “Keith kept looking for shots. Nobody got on him for missing early shots. He has a lot of self confidence. I´m glad that he kept shooting”, explained Rickey Paulding. After Gudmundsson hot a three pointer to cut the Oldenburg lead down to 75-57, the guests closed out the game with a 7-0 run to win 82-59.. In the run, the EWE Baskets Oldenburg got buckets from young German Jacob Hollatz, Gabric and Herrera. German Leon Pullen of Frankfurt also scored his first BBL basket “We couldn´t execute and we did take care of the ball”, stressed Quantez Robertson. The EWE Baskets Oldenburg were led by Rickey Paulding and Sebastian Herrera with 14 points apiece. Phil Pressy and Keith Hornsby supplied 12 points apiece while the Fraport Skyliners were led by Rasheed Moore with 13 points while Quantez Robertson and Jon Axel Gudmundsson had 10 points apiece. The EWE Baskets Oldenburg shot 47% form the field and 37% from outside and had 43 rebounds and 10 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners shot 37% from the field and 31% from outside and had 32 rebounds and 12 turnovers.