surinenglish

Off to the perfect start

Waczynski was on top of his game on Wednesday night
Waczynski was on top of his game on Wednesday night / Andreas Knopf
  • Unicaja's first match in the EuroCup Top 16 ended with victory, despite complications in the final phases

Unicaja couldn't have wished for a better start to the second phase of the EuroCup as they came out 69-77 winners from their away tie against Alba Berlin on Wednesday night.

In this phase of the competition there is little margin for error with only the top two teams from four progressing. Unicaja, at least for now, are top of the group and have gained significant ground on their rivals by winning away from home.

They started the game strong, looking solid in defence, as well as threatening in attack. Despite the absence of Musli, they went in with a 15-point advantage at the halfway stage, helped by the absence of Alba's influential pivots, Radosavljevic and Kikanovic - the latter his side's top points scorer.

The home side, though, reduced Unicaja's advantage in the third quarter thanks to their long-range shooting. However, the visitors were able to manage their lead better in the final quarter to see out the game.

On an individual level, there was plenty of good news for coach Joan Plaza. Brooks, for example, made the most of Musli's absence, putting in a fantastic performance, racking up 15 points and six rebounds, as well as making a number of key interventions.

Dani Díez also appeared more motivated and active than in previous months while the role played by Waczynski in the opening exchanges proved a vital springboard to victory.

Even Layafette, who has been lambasted for his performances lately, proved his worth in the seven minutes he was on the court in the final quarter. He brought stability and points to his team when they needed them most.

Valencia are currently second in the group after seeing off Cedevita 89-86. The Croats visit the Carpena next Wednesday after the Malaga side take on Real Betis in the league this Sunday.