They couldn’t afford to slip up... and they didn’t. Unicaja are through to the quarter finals of the EuroCup after beating Alba Berlin by 83-77 at the Martín Carpena on Wednesday night.
Their opposition in the next round is yet to be confirmed, but barring a surprise defeat for Bayern Munich, they will face up to the German side once more in a ‘best of three’ clash which will be wrapped up by 28 March. Unicaja won’t have the home advantage but there were plenty of positive signs on Wednesday that suggests they have every chance of progression.
Their opponents are a of EuroLeague calibre in every sense and yet the side from Malaga were more than a match, with a 54 per cent conversion rate from the three-point line and looking solid in defence.
As was the case in the league game against Fuenlabrada, Omic was at the centre of all things positive for Unicaja, giving the side much-needed drive. It was his introduction which turned the game in his side’s favour after coach Joan Plaza called time-out after four minutes with his side trailing 10-18.
By the end of the first quarter, they had a lead of three points at 23-20.
With the ascendency, Unicaja wanted to drive home their advantage and kept shooting for three-pointers, scoring seven out of 14 attempts and went into the break with a comfortable lead and confidence throughout the side.
This was soon shattered when Alba Berlin fought back in the third quarter with a partial score of 0-5 but the hosts were able to hold them off sufficiently to retain their lead going into the final quarter (65-58).
Alba were not out of it and levelled the scores of 68. However, with three-pointers from Nedovic and Waczynski and the influential Omic holding the side together, Unicaja were able to overcome a dreadful period when they struggling to retain possession, losing the ball on 21 occasions.