The suffering of the Fraport Skyliners continue as ever since they had that massive COVID fall out in January, winning again has been as far away as 50 Cent losing 100 pounds. Since the 2000 BBL cup winners last win on January 2nd, they have endured a brutal four game losing streak. It is a fact now that when they are without starting point guard Will Cherry, they are a severe lost case. After a tough mid week loss to the EWE Baskets Oldenburg where they witnessed a 110-103 shoot out game, they then had to deal with top team FC Bayern Munich and defended better allowing 72 points, but couldn´t muster any proper offense scoring only 53 points. It didn´t get any easier for them as 48 hours later they had a date with BBL champion Alba Berlin who had had a tough January losing five games in a row, but as of late had found rhythm again and were sporting a three game BBL win streak having last creamed the Hakro Merlins Crailsheim. The Fraport Skyliners didn´t have much time to recuperate from the Munich loss, but had some fortune as they met a lack luster Alba Berlin team that looked for the most part as if they were in semi-hibernation, but they were still good enough for the Fraport Skyliners as they allowed only 2 points in the fourth quarter pulling out the 72-56 win. “We got careless with the ball. Frankfurt did a good job in the second half denying our entries. We shot the ball well in the first half, but in the second half we struggled. Our legs were tired”, stressed Alba Berlin guard Jaleen Smith. The Fraport Skyliners were in the game for three quarters, but couldn´t take the momentum of the third quarter and be competitive in the fourth quarter. “I thought we took good care of the ball and we forced them to 22 turnovers. I thought we did a good job on the defensive boards. But at the end we had some back to back turnovers and they took advantage of it. We couldn´t control the pace and didn´t take good shots in the fourth quarter”, stated Quantez Robertson.
The Fraport Skyliners were without ex NBA player Will Cherry who had back problems. Alba Berlin didn´t take Frankfurt easy at the get go going on a rapid 8-2 lead. They got behind the three point line and got baskets from Maodo Lo and Luke Sikma and 2021 BBL MVP Jaleen Smith dropped free throws. But the Fraport Skyliners didn´t stay in a hole early, but were carried well by ex FC Barcelona 2 guard Brancou Badio who was aggressive and scored 5 points. German national player Lukas Wank contributed a trey to tie the game at 8-8. But Alba Berlin had the smoother game and hit Frankfurt with a 11-4 run to led 19-12. In the run the defending BBL champion got their transition game going with buckets from Jaleen Smith and ex Stanford(NCAA) forward Oscar Da Silva. Alba Berlin also got valuable minutes from 221cm big man Christ Koumadje who got to the free throw line twice and converted a thunderous dunk. Alba Berlin got many easy baskets while Frankfurt weren´t given anything easy. Alba Berlin kept up the pressure down the stretch having the 24-16 advantage after 10 minutes getting five points from German Tim Schneider while Frankfurt got points in the paint from Badio and Mclean. Alba Berlin had 6 turnovers which is very uncommon as they kept attempting lob passes that didn´t arrive and led to turnovers. “We usually make those passes. Frankfurt scouted us well and got deflections”, stressed Jaleen Smith. Alba Berlin shot their usual high percentages from two point with 70% and from outside 50% and had the rebound edge.
In the second quarter Alba Berlin were able to manage their comfortable lead and lead by as much as 13 points, but were never able to completely shake Frankfurt. Alba Berlin continued to show their smooth flowing offense getting a trey from Tamar Blatt, two handed dunk from Da Silva and lay in from Smith while Mclean had 4 points and Badio a trey, but Alba Berlin led 31-23. Frankfurt´s offense was working pretty well, but they couldn´t make any ground mainly because they couldn´t shake Alba Berlin´s clock work offense. Even when Alba Berlin coughed up balls, Frankfurt still couldn´t make ground. German fine role player Malte Delow added good support getting a lay in and a trey while Frankfurt received a runner from rookie Matt Haarms and a 20 footer from Felix Hecker who continues to make the best of his opportunity and minutes, but Frankfurt still trailed 37-26. Alba Berlin definitely weren´t playing their best basketball, but it was still enough to have a double figure lead. Down the stretch, Frankfurt got a trey from Quantez Robertson who had a poor shooting night after being up most of the last night as he became a father for the third time. Alba Berlin got a pull up jumper from Jaleen Smith a trey from the corner from German national player Jonas Mattisseck as Alba Berlin led 42-31 at the break. “They executed well being able to keep the lead. We also didn´t do a good job getting back on transition defense”, stressed Quantez Robertson. Alba Berlin continued to shoot the ball well with 60% from the two point range and 40% from outside and had the 23-16 rebound edge, but had 9 turnovers.
The Fraport Skyliners experienced their best basketball in the third quarter outscoring Alba Berlin 23-16 and cutting their lead down to 58-54. Alba Berlin continued to execute pretty well early getting baskets from Delow and Smith, but Frankfurt stayed with them getting their inside game going as Matt Haarms scored and also got more aggressive on the offensive boards and trailed 48-37. But the Fraport Skyliners didn´t let down, but actually stepped up their game going on a 9-2 run to cut down Alba Berlin´s lead to 50-46. As usual it was Badio leading the charge as he continued to have the hot hand scoring 5 points. Forward Brooks DeBisshop made a dunk and as did Jamel Mclean. Alba Berlin continued to let Frankfurt hang around and had no luck with their lob passes that Frankfurt had figured out. Alba Berlin has such a deep bench and have numerous guys that can go off and Jonas Mattissek continued to be hot hitting two three´s as Alba Berlin tried to get away again leading 56-48. But the Fraport Skyliners still had energy and upped their intensity closing out the third quarter with a 6-2 run to trail only 58-54. In the run, Frankfurt got solid support from Mclean making free throws, Len Schoorman made a steal and coast to coast sprint for two points and Badio made a runner at the buzzer. “We turned over the ball too much. Badio is a good young player that read our defense well and found the sweet spot. We didn´t pressure him as much”, added Jaleen Smith. “We didn´t make any real adjustments. We came out aggressive and got back into the game. We exerted a lot of energy to get good open looks. We did a good job holding them to one shot and controlling the rebound”, warned Quantez Robertson. Alba Berlin continued to shot better than Frankfurt over 40% and had the 29-26 rebound edge, but had an unacceptable 17 turnovers.
The Fraport Skyliners were unable to take their momentum of the third quarter into the fourth quarter and instead took an extreme 180 degrees turn scoring only a pathetic 2 points the whole quarter and allowing Alba Berlin to walk into the sunset with the win. The Fraport Skyliners actually began well getting DeBisschop involved throwing up a lob pass that he converted into an easy basket as Frankfurt trailed only 58-56. It was hard to believe that they would never score again after this. What happened after this must have been a bad dream and one that head coach Diego Ocampo surely might have some sleepless nights. For the next 5-6 minutes Alba Berlin would score only 5 points as Blatt nailed a trey and Koumadje made a tip in dunk for the 63-56 advantage. Frankfurt got chance after chance to execute on offense, but couldn´t. You could notice that that third quarter of high energy took a toll on them. Their offense was slower and their shots were untypically bad off the mark. They were unable to hit the ocean. Luke Sikma made a lay in at the 2,30 minute mark as Alba Berlin led 65-56. Mattisseck then made a trey which led to a Delow three and then it was game over as Alba Berlin led 68-56. Alba Berlin then took advantage of Frankfurt´s five team fouls and got free throws from Koumadje, Mattisseck and Jonas Thiemann. “Frankfurt´s shot were flat and short. Fatigue got to them. We stepped up our defense to get stops”, said Jaleen Smith. “Not being able to get points as a team hurt us mentally. When we couldn´t get stops, our confidence went down”, stressed Quantez Robertson. Alba Berlin was led by Jaleen Smith and Malte Delow with 11 points apiece while Christ Koumadje and Jonas Mattisseck added 10 points apiece. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Brancou Badio and Jamel Mclean with 17 points a piece. Alba Berlin shot 40% from the field and 37% from outside and had 46 rebounds and 22 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners shot 34% from the field and 19% from outside and had 35 rebounds and 17 turnovers.