Istanbul, Turkey – Zalgiris Kaunas opened the second day of the Adidas Next Generation Tournament (ANGT) with an important win over Tofas Bursa – 76-59. Despite the close first half (41-38) and the aspirations for an even game, Zalgiris took the control of the game in the second half (35-21). Liutaras Lelevicius (2003), a 6-foot-7 versatile forward led Zalgiris in scoring with 17 points, shooting 3-of-7 from outside. Lelevicius impresses with his quick release and confidence shooting from long range, nice jumping ability and the effort he puts on the defensive end of the floor. Ugnius Jarusevicius had another solid performance, this time recording 13 points, six boards and three assists. Ege Demir posted another eye-popping double-double – 17 points and 13 boards, blocking six shots, but turned the ball over eight times as well. Berke Buyuktuncel (F, 6-8), among the best 2004-born Turkish prospects scored 14 points, shooting 3-of-6 from deep.
In the second game of the program Real Madrid blew out Fenerbahce – 114-48. Seven of Real’s players finished the game in double figures, while all of its players received at least ten minutes of playing action. The well-known 2003-born Italian prospect Matteo Spagnolo (SG, 6-4) led the team in scoring with 14 points, while adding seven boards and six assists. His Estonian teammate, a 6’10.5” big guy with a fragile frame, Henri Veesaar (2004) posted a solid double-double – 11 points and 13 rebounds.
Zaragoza came victorious – 73-59 against Basket Brno after being down 16. The lack of experience playing at such level in a combination with foul troubles for their main contributor Jakub Necas (13 points, nine boards and six assists,) deprived the Czech team from their first win at the event. Czech big man Ondrej Hustak led Brno with 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Hustak hit some long 2-pointers and had some good moves closer to the basket, but needs to get more physical in the post. Zaragoza’s comeback and 18-2 run was led by its guards Josep Cera (2003, 6-2) and Daniel Arjol (2003, 6-5), who finished with 20 points (eight of which came in the last quarter) and 18 points (seven of them in the fourth quarter) respectively, and also by the plays made from the active 6-foot-7 small forward Alvaro Martinez (2003) who added 19 points (13 fouls drawn, 9-of-10 from the charity line).
Stella Azzurra advanced to the first-place game at the tournament, winning the first spot in Group A after surviving a huge comeback from the hosts of Anadolu Efes – 69-61. Matteo Visintin (2004), a 6-foot-3 guard, led Stella Azzurra in scoring with 14 points, hitting 2-of-2 from beyond the arc. His teammate Emmanuel Innocenti (2004), a 6-foot-5 swingman, had a solid showing, putting a lot of effort on the defensive end, finishing with ten points, six boards, four assists and three steals. On the other side, Efes’ good plays in the last quarter was fueled by Koralp Turk and Karahan Efeoglu (2003, F, 6-8) who both finished with 12 points.
In the first completely Turkish game at the event Fenerbahce demonstrated more effort and persistence to win that ball game against Tofas Bursa – 69-59. Baran Aslan (2004), a 6-foot-1 combo guard, led the winners in scoring with 14 points (4-of-8 from long range), while his teammates Yusuf Bayrak (eight boards) and Berkay Yilmaz (eight assists), a 5-foot-11 playmaker, both added 13 points for the win. Ege Demir recorded another strong showing at the tournament for Tofas, finishing with 14 points and six boards, but went out early due to a foot injury. Berke Buyuktuncel (SF, 6-8), among the best 2004-born Turkish prospects, was close to a double-double, having ten points and nine boards in a losing effort.
In the most anticipated game of the day, in a classic derby between two of the best youth programs in Europe, Real Madrid dominated against Zalgiris – 81-64. Real Madrid was led in scoring by Matteo Spagnolo who tallied 19 points, six boards and seven assists. His teammate, 6-foot-9 big man Eli Ndiaye scored 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds, with his presence felt beyond the paint, hitting one of his four attempts from long distance and dishing two assists. Juan Nunez, the floor general of Real Madrid, added 16 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, having the highest performance index rating on the floor – 25. Once again Liutaras Lelevicius led Zalgiris in scoring with 20 points showing a great motor, recording also nine points, three assists and two steals. His teammate Radvylas Kneizys (2003), a 6’3.5” guard, added 12 points, three boards and four assists, shooting 4-of-7 from outside.
On Sunday, Real Madrid will face Stella Azzurra in the final, while Anadolu Efes and Zalgiris Kaunas will play for the third place. Zaragoza will compete against Fenerbahce in the game for the fifth place, while Basket Brno and Tofas Bursa will face each other to decide which team will run away from taking the last spot.