EUROBASKET NEWS REPORT - 5/9/2008

Copyright 1997-2007 Eurobasket
WARNING:
Do not copy, redistribute, publish or otherwise exploit information that you download from the site!
Do not encumber, license, modify, publish, sell, transfer or transmit, or in any way exploit, any of the
content of the report, nor will you attempt to do so.
More info:www.eurobasket.com


Men News

*****************************************************
ARGENTINA

Argentinian NT 2008 list -by Facundo Iatzky

head coach Sergio Hernandez announced on Thursday morning the list of players who will play the southamerican tournament and the olympic games.

Southamerican: This group will train in Chaco, and then will travel to Chile. three or four of this players then will probably go to the olympic games.

Maximiliano Stanic (178-G-78, agency: Players Group), Guard, Pau Orthez (Francia)

De los Santos Nicolas: Guard, Granada (Spain)

Gerbaudo Diego, Guard, Real Madrid (Spain)

Cequeira Luis, Guard, Boca Juniors (Argentina)

Paolo Quinteros (185-G-79), Guard, Cai Zaragoza (Spain)

Lescano Matas Guard, Cai Zaragoza (Spain)

Nocedal Matias, Guard, Tau Ceramica (Spain)

Javier Bulfoni (192-G-76), Guard, Leon (Spain)

Sandes Matias, Forward, Fuenlabrada (Spain)

Roberto Gabini (198-F-75, agency: Interperformances), Forward, Roma (Italia)

Vega Sebastian, Forward, Central Entrerriano (Argentina)

Diego Lo Grippo (198-F-78), Forward, Burgos (Spain)

Pelussi Andres, Forward, Libertad de Sunchales (Argentina)

Leonardo Mainoldi (205-C-85), Forward, Lleida (Spain)

Aguerre Federico, Center, Boca Juniors (Argentina)

Gutierrez Juan ,Center, Granada (Spain)

Roman Gonzalez (206-C-78, agency: HM Sports Agency), Center, Penarol (Argentina)

Olympic games list: This group wil start to work on July 4 in Rosario then they will play some friendly games in Buenos Aires and Mar del plata. On July 20 they will travel to Europe for more friendly games. Sergio Hernandez said that he will play the otournament with two point guards so maybe one of them will be 'cut'.

Pablo Prigioni (186-G-77), Guard, Tau Cermica

Antonio Porta (188-G-83, agency: Players Group), Guard, Spartak (Rusia)

Nicolas Gianella (187-G-78), Guard, Granada (Spain)

Emanuel Ginobili (198-G-77, agency: Interperformances), Guard, San Antonio Spurs (USA)

Carlos Delfino (199-G-82), Guard, Toronto Raptors (USA)

Andres Nocioni (199-F-79), Forward, Chicago Bulls

Federico Kammerichs (203-F-80), Forward, Murcia (Spain)

Leonardo Gutierrez (200-F-78), Forward, Boca Juniors (Argentina)

Fabricio Oberto (207-C-75, agency: Interperformances), Center, San Antonio Spurs (USA)

Luis Scola (206-F/C-80), Center, Houston Rockets (USA).



*****************************************************
BOSNIA

Great success of Bosnians - Jazvin, Kojadinovic and Markovic reach semifinals! -by Nedzad Kladusak
Bosnian players and coach Markovic are in the semifinals of the greek championship!
After coach Markovic reached the semifinals with an uncontested 2-0 win, Ermin Jazvin and Feliks Kojadinovic followed him by eliminating Euroleague participant Aris Saloniki!!
Ermin Jazvin recorded eight points and played excellent defense which resulted in only 4 points for the finnish star Hanno Motola. Feliks Kojadinovic still recovers from a knee surgery he underwent 2 months before. Their opponent will be Olympiakos that eliminated the team of Sasa Vasiljevic, AEK.
Nenad Markovic however earned his first honours after his failure to qualify for the EC in Spain with the BIH NT. In the next stage he will meet Panathinaikos which will be the ultimate test of his current coaching skills.


*****************************************************
BRAZIL

Batista and Garcia's games in Europe -by Eurobasket News
J.P. Batista (206-F/C-81, college: Gonzaga) and his Barons/LMT entered the LBL Final series after beating VEF Riga 102:83 at home in the third game of the semifinal clash. Barons got to more aggressive start and led 32:21 at the first intermission. VEF struggled to limit the hosts offense and found themselves trailing by 24 points at the long break. Finally VEF adjusted their tempo and cut the gap by 3 points at the end of three quarters. But a huge dominance on the boards and more accurate field goal shooting allowed Barons to stay comfortably ahead throughout the fourth term and keep the visitors at bay. Armands Skele scored 26 points to lead all scorers. Kaspars Berzins nailed 17 points, while J.P. Batista launched 13 points in a winning case. Maxim Shelekto dropped 19 points for VEF. Maris Gulbis netted 16 points in defeat. Barons outrebounded the visitors 40:21 and limited the visiting side to 44% accuracy from the field.
Alex Garcia (191-G-80, agency: Interperformances) tasted silver in Euroleague for Maccabi Tel-Aviv that lost the Final game of Euroleague 2007/2008 to CSKA Moscow 77:91 in Madrid. In the opening quarter CSKA led the campaign but Maccabi had a chance to knot the score but missed four consecutive free throws in a row. The first quarter ended with CSKA leading 22:21. Russian squad was more disciplined increasing the lead to seven points at the half time. In the second half Matjaz Smodis hit a three pointer giving CSKA 71:57 lead. The final minutes belonged to Greek Theodoros Papaloukas and his Russian team. They had too much class to allow the victory slip out of their hands. Will Bynum top-scored for Maccabi with 23 points. Alex Garcia produced 2 points and 5 boards.


*****************************************************
CROATIA

A1 qualifications! -by Dani Erceg
Maksimir - Cakovec 75-74
Bolic 20pts, 8rebs, 2as, Erceg 13pts, 9rebs - Novak 22pts, 7rebs, Lenartis 16
Cakovec had 12pts advance in 36th minute, but great play by Luka Bolic and Dino Erceg (204-F-85) who scored key free throws in last seconds brought victory to Maksimir.

Trogir - Crikvenica 98-83
Bizaca 23, Kovacevic 16 - Samanic 15, Mazar 13


Vrijednosnice Darda - Kvarner Novi Resort 106-84
Delic 31, Vrsaljko 15 - Ciklic 23, Anzulovic 17


*****************************************************
CYPRUS

Pantouris in AEL Limassol -by Chris Mammides

The first transaction of the season took place earlier on this week, the cup winners, team of Proteas EKA AEL Limassol Limassol agreed financial terms with one of the best local performers on the guard position, Grigoris Pantouris (190-G/F-82) after two years in Nicosia with the team of Apoel decided to go back and join the best team in Lemassol, team of Proteas EKA AEL Limassol. Grigoris Pantouris was from the very first beginning a target for the Limassol management, after less than three weeks the talented guard is joining the team of Proteas EKA AEL Limassol. This is the fourth local player which Proteas EKA AEL Limassol is adding in its roster after the renewals of Perentos, Palalas and Liatsos. The team of Proteas EKA AEL Limassol Limassol is very close to sign a head Coach too, as it is more than obvious that the American/Swedish Head Coach Charles Barton will not coach any longer the team of Proteas EKA AEL Limassol. Among the names which came to the horizon is the one of the most successful Head Coach, Proteas EKA AEL Limassol ever had, the Serbian/Cypriot Head Coach Dragan Raca , is among the names for the Head coach spot together with some Greek quite familiar head coaches. The decision will take place in a couple of weeks



*****************************************************
CZECH REPUBLIC

Geofin and Prostejov head into semis -by Eurobasket News
Geofin overcame USK Praha in the capital to complete a 3-1 series win. Geofin looked confident and easily ran away to a 13-point lead at halftime. USK Praha had little chances to save the game in the second half as Geofin controlled the pace and kept the hosts at bay. Joe Chapman (193-G-84, agency: AMI, college: Marquette) scored 29 points to lead all scorers. Ondrej Soska (208-C-78) provided 16 points and 8 boards for the winners. Daniel Dvorak (204-F-77) nailed 19 points for USK Praha. Roderick Platt (205-C-75, agency: Court Side, college: Loyola, MD) finished with 13 points in a loss. Geofin will now take on Prostejov in the semifinal matchup.
Prostejov knocked out Ostrava beating them 73:59 away from home in Game 4. Ostrava were up by 3 points after the starting stanza but Prostejov surged ahead and rolled to the long break leading by 5 points. The visitors stretched the gap to 8 points after three quarters of action and eased to an overall win in the fourth quarter. Aleksandar Bojic (207-C-81, college: Hawaii-Pacific) launched 20 points and 8 boards to pace Prostejov. Rashaan Ames (184-G-77, college: Shaw) and Goran Savanovic (198-G-73) added 10 points apiece in a win. John Ofoegbu (206-C-82, college: Idaho St.) replied with 14 points and 7 boards for Ostrava in a loss.
Decin and Pardubice will have to play the fifth game to decide on the winner. Pardubice stormed past their opponents 90:72 at home court to draw level with Decin. Pardubice looked too good for Decin in this one as they led by 18 points at the interval and breezed to victory at the end. Sullivan Phillips (196-F-79, college: Columbia Union) provided 22 points and 9 boards for Pardubice. Tarvis Williams (205-F/C-78, college: Hampton) nailed 20 points and Kemaldin Gamma (206-F/C-80) dropped 12 for the winners. Damien Argrett (203-F/C-82, college: Pfeiffer) led Decin with 16 points.


*****************************************************
ESTONIA

Kalev joins TU/Rock in the KML title series -by Eurobasket News
Kalev - Pirita 70:65

Kalev Tallinn narrowly defeated Pirita in the third game of the semifinal clash and advanced to the Final. Yesterday TU/Rock booked their spot in the championship series and the archrivals would meet once again in the best-of-seven series tipping off on May 13. Pirita entered the game being on the ropes trailing 0-2. They needed to come up with a huge sensation to stay alive in the series and looked like capable of doing the one as they got to a dramatic start. Pirita outscored the hosts 21:17 in the first frame and never slowed in the second period. The gap reached 9 points at the interval with Pirita looking ready to challenge Kalev. But the home team gradually shook off the sloppiness and began trimming the deficit. Kalev shaved the difference by 6 points before the fourth stanza and surged ahead midway through the fourth term. The experienced Kalev squad proved stronger in tight last minutes of the game and celebrated a narrow victory at the end. Kristjan Kangur (202-F-82) and Ed Scott (182-G-81, college: Clemson) notched 17 points apiece for Kalev. Gregor Arbet (195-F/G-83) knocked down 15 points for the winners. Andre Parn (200-F-77) answered with 16 points and 10 boards for Pirita. Johnny Gray (186-G-83, college: Pacific) netted 13 points in a losing effort. The teams were well-matched on the boards with 33 caroms apiece. Pirita committed just 7 turnovers but shot only 38% of field goals. Kalev answered with 44% accuracy from the field.

Kalev: Kristjan Kangur 17, Ed Scott 17, Gregor Arbet 15
Pirita: Andre Parn 16+10 boards, Johnny Gray 13


*****************************************************
FINLAND

KORISLIIGA: Petteri Koponen season best -by Rauno Hurmalainen
The Finnish Basketball Association has named NT SG Petteri Koponen (193-G-88) (Honka, Espoo) The Player of The Year. Koponen averaged 19,0 ppg,
3,4 rpg, 3,9 apg and was a member of the Finnish Championship squad. American F Corey Smith (196-G/F, agency: Warren Sports, college: Vanderbilt) (Kouvot, Kouvola) was chosen the best import player. Smith averaged 21,0 ppg and 8,4 rpg. The newcomer of the Year was Jesse Niemi (187-F-90) (Pyrinto, Tampere). Niemi scored 5,1 ppg and grabbed 2,2 rpg. Jukka Toijala (Kouvot) got the nomination The Coach of The Year. Eurobasket/Finland awarded already three weeks ago actually same players and the same Coach.


KORISLIIGA: Transfer news -by Rauno Hurmalainen
YMCA Lahti has re-signed with Sami Pekkola (201-F-83) a 1+1 -year-contract. Pekkola played already passed season nine games on YMCA Lahti roster
averaging 7,7 ppg and 2,4 rpg. So, YMCA Lahti has now five contracts with players (Teemu Laine, Ville Vesala, Vesa Makalainen, Ilkka Vuori,
Sami Pekkola) for coming 2008-09 season. Sami Toiviainen will start his second season as Team's Head Coach.
F-C Teemu Rintala (203-F/C-88) is changing his Team again. Rintala started season 2007-08 on Honka's (Espoo) roster, transfered then to Korihait (Uusikaupunki)
averaging 5,0 ppg - 3,4 rpg in 34 contests and will play next (2008-09) season on Team Componenta's (Karkkila) roster.


*****************************************************
FRANCE

Standings - ProB
ProB Standings
 1. Bourg 23-10 
 2. Rouen 22-11 
 3. Poitiers 21-12 
 4. Limoges 20-13 
 5. Saint-Etienne 19-14 
 6. Nanterre 18-15 
 7. Nantes 18-15 
 8. Maurienne 18-15 
 9. Besancon 17-16 
 10. Evreux 17-16 
 11. Brest 17-16 
 12. Quimper 15-18 
 13. Le Portel 14-19 
 14. Boulazac 14-19 
 15. St.Quentin 14-19 
 16. Chalons 12-21 
 17. St.Vallier 12-21 
 18. Reims 6-27 


Stats Leaders - ProA
Pro A Stats Leaders
Points Per Game
1 Colson Tou 21.4
2 Graves Pau 21.0
3 Salyers Roa 20.0
4 Cox Le Havre 18.9
5 Skinn Clermont 16.6
Rebounds Per Game
1 Masingue Tou 10.5
2 Issa Vic 8.9
3 Krupalija Dij 8.1
4 Marquis Cho 7.8
5 Nsonwu-Amadi ASVEL 7.6
Assists Per Game
1 Colson Tou 8.3
2 Sciarra Dij 8.1
3 Stanic Pau 7.3
4 Thompson LeH 6.8
5 Mitchell Cha 5.1
Steals Per Game
1 Colson Toulon 4.31
2 Greer Nancy 3.94
3 Stanic Pau 3.21
Blocks Per Game
1 Issa Vic 1.9
2 Akpomedah Par 1.7
3 Bauer Nan 1.7
2FGP
1 Bauer Nan 70.9
2 Foster Par-L 70.2
3 John Ford Cha 67.5
3FGP
1 Sangare Vil 48.1
2 Cope Orl 47.5
3 Golemac Par 46.7
Free Throws
1 Colson Tou 92.2
2 Nichols Tou 91.3
3 Dewar Orl 90.9
Ranking
1 Colson Toulon 19.12
2 Salyers Roanne 19.06
3 Greer Nancy 18.88
4 Williams Toulon18.53
5 Ford Chalon 17.94


*****************************************************
GERMANY

Eric Taylor got suspended -by Manuel Schust
Bayer Giants Leverkusen announced today that american Center Eric Taylor (201-F-76, agency: Elfus-Siegel Management (ESM), college: St.Francis,PA) will be suspended until further notice.
The player was involved in a car accident and the prosecution of Cologne is detecting against him.
The 31-year-old Taylor has been driving while intoxicated. The club is willing to wait until the examination is finished and calculates that the player will be out for several weeks.

After losing Nate Fox (206-F-77, agency: Pro One Sports, college: Maine), who had been found guilty for marihuana abuse, the surprise team Leverkusen has to deal with another tough blow.
Fox played a tremendous season and a possible MVP candidate producing 14.4 points and 7 rebounds per game before being banned.
Taylor was next to Fox another big help for Leverkusen, averaging 11.5 points and 5.7 rebounds this year.
With both players out the frontcourt of Bayer Giants Leverkusen is now limited to Brant Bailey (202-F-77, college: Wisc.-Stevens Point) and Ransford Brempong.
Since no team is allowed to hire new players Leverkusen will need the help of youngsters Tom and Ben Spler to fill the gap.


Kyle Visser re-signs with Braunschweig -by Manuel Schust
After extending the contracts of BBL All-Star Andrew Drevo and guard Jonathan Levy, New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig managed to keep another player on their roster: Center Kyle Visser (211-C-85, agency: Octagon, college: Wake Forest) signed for the 08/09 season. The player can cancel the contract until 20th of july in case an NBA team wants to sign him.
Visser had an outstanding last college season when he played for Wake Forest and averaged 17 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.
In his first season overseas he produced 10 points and 4.4 rebounds in 21 minutes per game while shooting 57.8% from the floor.


Spradley remains loyal to Paderborn -by Manuel Schust
Coach Douglas Spradley signed a one year contract with Paderborn Baskets the club announced today.
Spradley will be coaching his 8th season in northern germany.
Ever since he joined Paderborn, the club managed to improve from season to season. The year Paderborn promoted to the BBL, Spradley's team had a perfect season, winning all 30 games.
Though Spradley and Paderborn have to work with a limited budget in BBL now, they did not have to face relegation this year and are currently in 11th spot of the table.
Also assistant coach Stephan Voelkel will stay on Spradley's side next year.


Dijon Thompson and Alba part ways -by Manuel Schust
Alba Berlin announced today that Dijon Thompson (201-G/F-83, college: UCLA) is no longer part of the team. The 25-year-old wingman and the club decided to cancel the contract.
After the Top4 tournament Thompson was involved in an incident the club could not accept.
Thompson, who already played for Phoenix Suns in the NBA, had a very good start in his first season overseas. But as the season went on, he could not really fulfill Alba's expectations.
Nevertheless Berlin loses a player of starting 5 calibre and will not be allowed to hire a new player for the upcoming play-offs.
Dijon Thompson , who averaged 11.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2 assists in 28 games with Alba, already flew back to the states today.


*****************************************************
GREECE

Marousi at the Semis! -by Chris Mammides

Soulis Markopoulos's Marousi is the fourth team to join Panathinaikos, Olympiakos and Panionios in the Semi finals after the second amazing road win in Amexandreion Melathron over Arisn Thessalonikis. Markopoulos team was more decisive than ever and with players full of passion and an amazing Branko Milisavljevic (193-G-76) for a third game in the row (he scored 85 points in three games against Aris and he is definitely the MVP of the quarter finals) managed to eliminate Coach Herberts team. Now in regards to the Canadian's team, it was simply colorless and with a lot of stress, not even the amazing 5000 yellow fans were able to 'waken up' the players of Aris. Without any real strategy in their game, or real organisational skills, simply without the 'brains' in the team, it is more than obvious that Aris made a fatal mistake when actually changed the successful veteran Terrell Castle, who was the brain of the team, with Washington, as the ex NBAer prove to be not enough for Aris. The sixth placed Costa Cafe Marousi with the 13-13 of the regular season eliminate the Euroleagues Aris of 18-8.

Costa Cafe Marousi started the game more decisively and by the end of the first quarter already showed that Alexandreion will not be a big problem for Branko Milisavljevic and Bryant as the two players were doing the most amazing things in the game, the two players lead their team and with the help of Nikos Boudouris (192-G-71) and Haralambidis increased the difference slowly-slowly to 15 points 8 minutes before the end of the game, Aris players were have a kind of anarchy in their game as both Terry and Wright were shooting from the arc with very bad stats (2/10 both of them) and with Boisas bad shooting from the arc (0/4) the Costa Cafe Marousi players mostly with Stevenson were dashing down the rebounds the one after the other, with persistence and team work, Markopoulos team took the victory, mostly because of the passion, strategy, coolness and very good coaching skills of the Greek Coach. It is more than clear that he check mate his Canadian colleague!!

The quarters were: 19-24, 40-44, 56-67, and 79-85

The final score of the game was 79-85 with the scorers of the two teams being the following:

Aris: Terry 3, Washington 20, Wright 9, Kalaitzis 3, Iliadis 13, Motola 4, Massey 27.

Costa Cafe Marousi: Stevenson 7, Haralambidis 8, Nikos Boudouris 7, Jazvin 8, Bryant 14, Mavroidis 6, Branko Milisavljevic 26, Kaimakoglou 9.



*****************************************************
GUATEMALA

Elite Sport wins again -by Gianni Pascucci
Elite Sport-Pollo Rey took the fifth win in Liga Metro 2008 - Apertura, defeating 95-55 Millonarios at the Gimnasio Nacional Teodoro Palacios Flores. This win grants to Elite Sport the second place. The best performers were in Elite Sport Walter Orellana (-G), Luis Garcia (198-F), Paulo Castillo (199-C-78) and Alejandro Carrillo (191-F-88), who scored 14 points aecah, while Sergio Guillen was the top scorer in Millonarios with 10 pts.

*****************************************************
ITALY

Ex Benetton Player Maurice Evans -by Glenn Wiley
A former Benetton Player Maurice Evans took to the court last night with his Orlando Magic team mates in an effort not to go down 3-0 against the Detroit Pistons. Led with his tenancious defense and athletic abilities in a must win situation Orlando prevailed with a 111-86 victory and now the series is 2-1 in favor of Detroit. Game four is slated for Saturday afternoon again in Orlando. Maurice who helped Benetton Treviso to an Italian championship and also a fomer player of the Detroit Pistons and the Lakers averages nearly 9 points a game as a starter.

*****************************************************
KOSOVO

Schedule of matches for May 7/8, 2008 -by Edona Shabani
First match: SIGAL PRISHTINA - PEJA, Thursday at 19,00

'TOYOTA WOMEN LEAGUE' FINALS PLAY - OFF 07/08 MAY 2008

First match:

SIGAL PRISHTINA - BASHKIMI, Thursday at 20,30
Referees: Hajredin Zeka, Xhavit Beqiri
Monitors: Sejdi Mehmeti

PLAY - OFF 7- 8 MAY 2008

JUNIORS LEAGUE

TREPA - PEJA, Thursday at 13,00
Referees: Daut Mehmeti, Isa Prebreza
Monitors: Bajrush Ademi

BASHKIMI - SIGAL PRISHTINA, Thursday at 15,00
Referees: Arbnor Rifati, Xhelal Munini
Monitors: Tafil Hoxha

CADETS LEAGUE

PRISHTINA PROBASKET - YLLI, Wednesday at 18,30
Referees: Xhavit Beqiri, Albert Verbiqi
Monitors: Alban Lumi

SIGAL PRISHTINA - TREPA, Wednesday at 12,00
Referees: Hajredin Zeka, Agim Halili
Monitors: Remzi Ramadani

PIONEERS LEAGUE 'STOBI FLIPS'

MEGABASKET - SHB '12', Thursday at 11,00
Referees: Xhavit Beqiri, Armend Sejdiu
Monitors: Bajrush Ademi

YLLI - TREPA, Thursday at 18,30
Referees: Urim Hasani, Hazir Haxha


Source: www.basketbolli.com


*****************************************************
KUWAIT

Bangura signs for Al Qadsia -by Ali Ahmed
Al Qadsia basketball team management agreed terms with the American guard Alpha Bangura (197-F/G-80, college: St.John's) to play for them the Asian Clubs Championship (Kuwait May 8-16) .


hes very athletic forward, with great leaping ability, who plays hard at the two sides of the court; can further improve and become a very good international level forward .



Awards/Achievements:
Northeast Conference Newcomer of the Week - 3 times (Monmouth College) -98
Northeast Conference Freshman of the year -98
NBDL Semifinals -03
All-NBDL Honorable Mention -04
NBDL Regular Season Runner-Up -04
NBDL Semifinals -04
CBA All-Stars Game -05, 06 (Slam Dunk Contest Winner)
Japanese JBL Challenge Cup Winner -07
Japanese JBL Superleague Regular Season Champion -08
Japanese JBL Superleague Champion -08
Asia-Basket.com All-Japanese JBL Superleague 1st Team -08
Asia-Basket.com Japanese JBL Superleague All-Imports Team -08
Lebanese Cup Semifinals -08
Arab Club Championships Finalist -08


*****************************************************
LATVIA

LBL gets to know the first finalist -by Eurobasket News
Barons/LMT entered the LBL Final series after beating VEF Riga 102:83 at home in the third game of the semifinal clash. Barons got to more aggressive start and led 32:21 at the first intermission. VEF struggled to limit the hosts offense and found themselves trailing by 24 points at the long break. Finally VEF adjusted their tempo and cut the gap by 3 points at the end of three quarters. But a huge dominance on the boards and more accurate field goal shooting allowed Barons to stay comfortably ahead throughout the fourth term and keep the visitors at bay. Armands Skele (192-G-83) scored 26 points to lead all scorers. Kaspars Berzins (211-F/C-85, agency: FCM) nailed 17 points, while J.P. Batista (206-F/C-81, college: Gonzaga) launched 13 points in a winning case. Maxim Shelekto dropped 19 points for VEF. Maris Gulbis (203-F-85, agency: Interperformances) netted 16 points in defeat. Barons outrebounded the visitors 40:21 and limited the visiting side to 44% accuracy from the field.
Ventspils stayed alive against ASK Riga claiming a narrow 70:68 home victory. ASK Riga jumped to a 22:18 lead after the starting frame but Ventspils easily denied the deficit and grabbed a 2-point lead at halftime. The teams then traded buckets throughout the second half and Ventspils maintained a 2-point distance till the final buzzer. Justin Love (188-G-78, college: St.Louis) scored 24 points including a couple of key attempts in the dying minutes and collected 8 boards for Ventspils. Uvis Helmanis (204-F-72, agency: Stanley International) nailed 11 points and Akselis Vairogs (196-G/F-85) dropped 10 points in a winning case. Sandis Valters (193-G/F-78, agency: Arik Krayn Services) answered with 15 points for ASK Riga. A.J. Bramlett (208-C-77, agency: Priority Sports, college: Arizona) produced 14 points and 8 caroms in a loss. Game 4 is scheduled for tomorrow.


*****************************************************
NBA

MVP-caliber performance from Kobe Bryant lifts LA Lakers to 2-0 lead -by Eurobasket News
Kobe Bryant (6'6''-G-78) lived up to his recent status of the NBA MVP as he tallied 34 points, 8 boards and 6 assists to pace the LA Lakers to a 120:110 victory over the Utah Jazz in Game 2 of the Western semis. The Lakers thus stretched their playoff perfect run to 6 games. Bryant, who received the award from David Stern before the game, scored 6 points in a 13:0 run midway through the first frame and the hosts never looked back afterwards. Derek Fisher scored 22 points, while Pau Gasol (7'0''-F/C-80) notched 20 and Lamar Odom (6'10''-F-79, college: Rhode Island) contributed 19 points and 16 rebounds for the winners. The Lakers shot 57% from the field, while limiting the Jazz to 44% accuracy. Deron Williams (6'3''-G-84, college: Illinois) scored 25 points for the Jazz. Paul Millsap (6'7''-F-85, college: Louisiana Tech) knocked down career playoff-high 17 points and 10 rebounds in a losing case. The series moves to Salt Lake City for Games 3 and 4 on Friday and Sunday.
Orlando narrowed the distance to Detroit beating them 111:86 at the Amway Arena. The Pistons received a major setback early in the game as Chauncey Billups fell awkwardly after the collision with Jameer Nelson and left the game with a strained right hamstring. He never returned to action and the absence of their leader influenced the game of the Pistons. Rashard Lewis (6'10''-F-79) nailed 12 points out of the last 14 points in the first half as the Magic grabbed a 54:42 lead at halftime. Lewis knocked down 33 points, collected 6 boards and issued 5 assists to lead the Magic as they coasted to an overall win in the second half. Dwight Howard (6'10''-F-85) provided 20 points and 12 boards for the winners. Richard Hamilton (6'7''-G-78, college: Connecticut) scored 24 points for Detroit. Tayshaun Prince (6'9''-F-80, college: Kentucky) secured 22 points and 7 rebounds in defeat. The Pistons remained hopeful Chauncey Billups would take part in Game 4 on Saturday.


*****************************************************
NIGERIA

Rumbles in the Savannah..as Peaks, Potters seek consolidation -by Olusegun Ikuesan
Three premier league matches will be decided this weekend in the Savannah conference of the Nigeria Basketball Federation, NBBF organized premier league.

In Jos, home state of NBBF President, Elder Jacob Gyang Buba, home team and toast of the city fans Plateau Peaks basketball club will throw everything in its arsenal unto the court when it hosted AHIP Giant basketball club from Kano in order to consolidate its position on the conference table.

The match promises to be a thriller as the young AHIP team will put up a fight against the more expose and experience Peaks to stand-still so as to brighten its play-off slot.

The conference whipping team, Yelwa Hawks basketball club of Bauchi will play the game of its live when it hosted old war horse Kano Pillars basketball club.

Yelwa owned by a former member of the Bauchi State House of Assembly, Hon. Tanko Dutse Yusuf who is now a Commissioner in the state must be at their very best to upstage the Pillars.

The match will definitely bring out the best from both sides as Yelwa Hawks recently made a last minute recruitment in order to look good for a championship team while Pillars with the likes of Ibrahim Yusuf being at their element among other key Pillars players.

Conference leaders, Niger Potters basketball club of Minna will do everything possible to remain on top of the conference table when it hosted visiting Tapgun Rockets basketball club of Jos.

Potters will bank on the experience of their 2007 fifth place finishing at the FIBA Africa Champions Club Competition in Angola to pick the two maximum points against the Jos-based Rockets who has been finding things tough since the conference leg of the league dunks-off on April 5.

All three matches hold simultaneously in the three venues across the Savannah conference.
Abubakar Usman (192-G-86)


Niger Coach, Kuta Thumb-up Nigeria Federation -by Olusegun Ikuesan
Head Coach of Niger State basketball team to the national U-18 men and women championship currently on in Kano, Adamu Kuta has given a pass mark to the Nigeria Basketball Federation, NBBF for a job well-done.

Speaking in an exclusive telephone chat with www.fiba-africa.com, the coach who also double as the head coach of the North Central Nigeria top team, Niger Potters Basketball Club says though the U18 national championship which attracted 16 states of the federation came a little late but it is a good omen that the Nigeria federation is now serious with basketball development and not only promotion which the top league The Premier League represent.

Coach Kuta whose men team lost its opening group game to Kaduna State by 70-49 points rose from that defeat to beat Oyo State with a narrow 73-71 points while the girls defeated Benue state by 54-13 points in her third group game after going down to Ondo State by 32-26 and Kano 57-12 points respectively in her first and second group matches.

The Gwari-born basketball tactician says the championship will afford coaches who are interested in the development of basketball in the country to discover and nurture the young talent on display.

He posited that the Nigeria federation should endeavour to make the championship an annual event so as to continue with the project of talent hunt.

'I am indeed happy that at last the Nigeria Basketball Federation has taken the bull by the horn by re-introducing the national U18 Men and Women Championship which has been in limbo for years.

'I am particularly happy for the young kids who have been yarning for an avenue such as this to show case their raw talents and at least catch the fancy of a few premier league coaches around.

'It is not enough to reintroduce this championship, but its continuation is important so Im appealing to the NBBF to make it an annual event.

Kano girls have remained consistent after posting a second victory beating Niger and Ondo States by 57-12 and 51-33 points respectively.

Kaduna men team have also show some consistency by keeping a clean slate in the two matches it has played so far, the Kaduna boys defeated Niger State 70-49 points in its first group game and posted another heart warming victory over Edo State with an 86-36 points walloping.


Day-1 Results Men:

Kano 69-50 Enugu

Kaduna 70-49 Niger

Gombe 59-37 Imo

Anambra 46-45 Imo

Day-1 Women:

Edo 55-31 Kaduna

Imo 44-07 Gombe

Ondo 32-26 Niger

Kano 44-42 Benue

Kano 57-12 Niger

Day-2 Men:

Enugu 44-39 Benue

Gombe 71-37 Katsina

Kaduna 86-36 Edo

Zamfara 47-36 Sokoto

Niger 73-71 Oyo

Day-2 Women:

Edo 3-27 Rivers

Imo 57-27 Kaduna

Niger 54-13 Benue

Rivers 28-20 Gombe

Imo 36-31 Edo

Kano 51-33 Ondo


*****************************************************
PANAMA

Gyno Pomare has Panamanian roots -by Rolando Delabarrera
The Panamanian Men's Basketball team continues to get better as more and more players with NCAA experience join the fold. This past year a very talented , Gary Forbes (UMASS), displayed his skills on the Panamanian national team for the first time. Another NCAA, with Panamanian roots, might be the next surprise on the national team .Gyno Pomare whose father, Leonardo Pomare is Panamanian born, is a solid talent with the statistics to match. Gyno averaged 14.1 ppg and 7.4 rpg for the Univesity of San Diego which advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament this year. Pomare posted impressive numbers against UCONN and Western Kentucky ; 22 and 20 points respectively.

I spoke briefly with Gyno who indeed wlecomed the opportunity to represent Panama in future events should he be called upon. Gyno wishes to continue playing professionally after he gradutes next year. At 6'8'' and 240 lbs, this bruiser will have no problems finding takers for his services.
Gyno Pomare (201-F-86)


*****************************************************
ROMANIA

CSU Ploiesti strikes hard -by Eurobasket News
CSU Ploiesti got back on the winning track as they breezed past Rapid Bucuresti 90:64 in the capital yesterday. Thus the defending champions grabbed a 2-1 lead in the series and would look to close out the series in todays game. CSU Ploiesti jumped to a 28:15 lead after the opening period and maintained the stretch in the second term. Rapid never adjusted their game in the second part of the fixture struggling in accuracy as well as under the rims. Arvydas Cepulis (195-G-79) canned 31 points to lead all scorers. Bojan Obradovic (206-F/C-77, agency: Beo Basket) knocked down 13 points, while Reggie Elliott (196-G-73, agency: Global Sports Plaza, college: Mercer) had 11 for the winners. Nikola Radojicic (196-G-86, agency: 011 Sports) answered with 19 points for Rapid. Zoran Milovic (204-C/F-77) delivered 16 points and 8 boards in a losing case.
UMobitelco clinched a 2-1 lead in their semifinal clash against CSU Sibiu. After the teams traded wins in Sibiu UMobitelco celebrated a tough 68:61 win at home to surge ahead. The teams kept it close in the first half with the score tied at 28 at halftime. But UMobitelco used a 21:11 rally right after the long break to take over in this one. Sibiu tried hard to return into contest in the fourth stanza but the hosts looked better yesterday and drove to a difficult victory at the end. LeVar Seals (194-G-82, agency: N.E.T., college: De Paul) scored 23 points to pace the home side. Brad Buckman (203-F-84, college: Texas) had 18 points and 10 boards for the winners. Jason Smith (197-F-77, college: Mississippi) replied with game-high 24 points for CSU Sibiu. William Hatcher (188-G-84, agency: LimeLight, college: Miami, OH) accounted for 15 points in a loss.


*****************************************************
RUSSIA

Khimki routs Ural Great to open semifinal series -by Eurobasket News
Khimki - Ural Great 101:78

The second-ranked Khimky dispatched Ural Great in the semifinal opener to grab the lead. Ural Great appeared the least expected contestant of this stage of the tournament. The Perm outfit knocked out Unics in the quarterfinal but could not match Khimki away from home in the first game of the semis. Ural Great kept it close in the first period as they trailed by 4 points. But Khimki ran away in the second period. They rolled to a comfortable 52:40 lead at halftime and never looked back again. Kelly McCarty (201-F-75, agency: Avi Zilberman, college: S.Mississippi) and Maciej Lampe (210-C-85, agency: Edge Sports) scored 22 points apiece to lead the hosts. Mike Wilkinson (204-F-81, agency: Interperformances, college: Wisconsin) provided 13 points for the winners. Roman Khamitov (199-F-84) launched 17 points and 7 boards for Ural Great in a loss. Brent Wright (203-F/C-78, college: Florida) scored 15 points in a losing effort. Game 2 is scheduled for today.

Khimky: Kelly McCarty 22, Maciej Lampe 22, Mike Wilkinson 13
Ural Great: Roman Khamitov 17, Brent Wright 15


*****************************************************
SERBIA

Standings - A Liga
A Standings
Superleague
 1. FMP 7-1 
 2. Partizan 6-1 
 3. Crvena Zv. 6-3 
 4. Hemofarm 6-3 
 5. Vojvodina 5-4 
 6. Swisslion Tak. 2-6 
 7. Vizura 1-8 
 8. Borac 1-8 
Others in Stage One
 1. Radnicki 034 13-9 
 2. Mega AM 12-10 
 3. Sloga 12-10 
 4. Novi Sad 11-11 
 5. Masinac 10-12 
 6. Zdravlje 9-13 
 7. Radnicki NS 9-13 
 8. Napredak 9-13 
 9. Ergonom 2-12 


Superleague, round 9 - FMP beats Crvena Zvezda after over time -by Dragan Jankovski
Crvena Zvezda suffered thriller defeat vs FMP at home after over time 108-112. Thus, Panthers improved to score 7-1 while Zvezda dropped on 6-3. FMP was very close to win in regular time as they had 95-91 in the last minute but Omar Cook (186-G-82, college: St.John's) brought over time to Zvezda. Namely, he netted one FT and missed the second one after what he grabbed the ball and scored from behind the arc for 95-95. In over time visitors played much better and deserved to win. Dragan Labovic (207-C/F-87) led FMP with 27 points and 7 rebounds while Zoran Erceg (211-C/F-85) also was good scoring 21 points. USA PG Omar Cook collected 27 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 5 steals for Zvezda. Red-and-white team also got 19 points and 5 rebounds from Bosnian hot prospect from Elmedin Kikanovic (210-C-88, agency: Beo Basket).

After inconvenient defeat against FMP in the last round, Partizan Igokea made a road victory against Swisslions Takovo 74-59 recording sixth win in Superleague. After good start by Swisslions, team of head coach Dusko Vujosevic started to play much better registering an easy win at the end. Milenko Tepic (198-G-87, agency: Beo Basket), who scored 14 points, and Nikola Pekovic (210-C-86, agency: Beo Basket), who added 13 points and 7 rebounds, were the best for the winners. Vladislav Dragoljovic (206-C-79, agency: Beo Basket) and Radovan Markovic (192-G-82) scored 12 points each for Swisslions.

Vizura lost at home vs Hemofarm STADA 54-93. From the beginning Hemofarm demonstrated its domination finishing the game in style with plus 39. Nebojsa Joksimovic (193-G-81, agency: Beo Basket) and Rawle Marshall (201-G-82, college: Oakland) scored 15 points each for Hemofarm while Vizura got 12 points and 4 rebounds from Uros Lucic (207-C-83). Hemofarm currently has 6 wins and 3 defeats while Vizura remains on only 1 win.

Vojvodina Srbijagas smashed Borac in Novi Sad 93-72 thanks to 22 points by Milos Bojovic (198-G-81) and also 20 points and 4 rebounds from the captain Ivan Ivanovic (205-F-80, agency: Beo Basket). Nikola Ilic (207-C/F-85) added 27 points and 11 rebounds for Borac.


Crvena Zvezda - FMP 108-112
(26-32,23-23,20-13,26-27,13-17)

Zvezda:
Cook 27 (5 rebs, 4 as, 5 st), Kikanovic 19 (5 rebs), Subotic 13 (7 rebs), Dragicevic 13
FMP: Labovic 27 (7 rebs), Protic 21, Erceg 16 (9 rebs), Krstovic 16 (4 as)


Swisslions Takovo - Partizan Igokea 59-74
(19-15,19-25,16-20,5-14)

Swisslions:
Dragojlovic 12 (6 rebs), Markovic 12, Aleksic 11, Vlaskovic 10 (5 rebs)
Partizan: Tepic 14, Pekovic 13 (7 rebs), Palacio 12, Vitkovac 10 (5 rebs)


Vizura Hemofarm - STADA 54-93
(13-22,14-27,12-31,15-13)

Vizura:
Lucic 12 (4 rebs), Karic 9 (4 as)
Hemofarm: Joksimovic 15 (4 st), Marshall 15, Vukosavljevic 11 (5 rebs)


Vojvodina Srbijagas - Borac 93-72
(21-16,25-19,25-22,22-15)

Vojvodina:
Bojovic 22, Ivanovic 20 (4 rebs)
Borac: Ilic 27 (11 rebs), Markovic 12


*****************************************************
SLOVAKIA

Nova Ves enters semifinal stage -by Eurobasket News
The Extraliga quarterfinals enjoyed the fourth games yesterday. Inter Bratislava was the only teams that sealed their semifinal birth in three games. Yesterday Nova Ves joined them at the next stage of the tournament. Nova Ves outfit prevailed against Lucenec 91:71 at home court and completed a 3-1 win in the series. Jordan Mason (189-G-80, agency: Pro Agents-Basketball Careers) paced the hosts with 23 points, while Jozef Bucak (207-C-81, agency: LBM Management) netted 17 points for the winners. The home side led comfortably 49:35 at halftime and never allowed Lucenec to come too close after the break. Nova Ves will now take on the winner of Pezinok vs. Nitra clash in the semis.
Nitra stayed alive in the series due to an 86:73 home win yesterday. The teams will now play the fifth decisive game on Saturday. Pezinok, that claimed the regular season title, was widely taken as an obvious favorite in this matchup but Nitra proved contestant and managed to force the decider. They stunned Pezinok in the first half of yesterdays game leading by as many as 9 points at the interval. Pezinok were able to recover after the long break and narrowed the deficit. However the hosts forced the issue as Peter Seman (193-F-77) was on fire and led Nitra to another surprising victory. Seman finished with 25 points for Nitra. Roman Ivan (199-F-77) had 16 points, while Brock Gillespie (188-G-82, college: Rice) provided 15 in a winning effort. Lorenzo Williams (191-G-84, college: Rice) netted game-high 30 points for Pezinok in defeat.
Handlova and Svit will also play the fifth game after Handlova bruised their opponents 95:73 at home to draw level in the series. Nenad Milosevic (188-G-83) fired 44 points as Handlova denied the first half deficit to storm past demoralized Svit in the second half. Jaroslav Stefanik (193-F-76) had 17 points in a win. Zachary Ingles (188-G-83, college: E.Kentucky) provided 27 points for Svit.


*****************************************************
SLOVENIA

Krka end 14-games losing streak to Helios -by Zeljko Zule

T.J. Sorrentine (180-G-82, college: Vermont) scored 29 points on shooting 7-of-11 behind the arc, Davor Marcelic posted 25 points on shooting 5-of-7 from the downtown, and Krka beat Helios 92-80 to end a 14-game losing streak in the series. Krka had not beaten Helios since a 79-75victory on February 23, 2005. Krka shot 16-of-29 gor 3-pointers and in last quarter outscored Helios by 22-9. Jack Ingram led the guests with 22 points.
Zlatorog never trailed and easily defeated TCG Mercator 85-69. Salih Nuhanovic netted 14 points without a miss and Nejc Strnad collected 14 points and 4 assists while Jure Erzen had 13 points for TCG Mercator who shot 1-of-14 behind the arc.
Esotech Elektra beat Luka Koper 78-65 for their first home win. Zan Vrecko scored 19 points and Ales Kunc had 16 points and 9 rebounds. Koper had only two scorers in double fugures. Emanuel Richter finished with 19 points and Sasa Mucic added 12.
Union Olimpija led as many as 28 points in the third quarter as defeated Geoplin Slovan 100-86. Maurice Bailey posted 24 points and Marko Milic 22 while DeMarco Johnson led the guests with 28 points and 12 rebounds.

League Play-Off - Round 12: Krka-Helios 92-80, TCG Mercator-Zlatorog 69-85, Elektra Esotech-Luka Koper 78-65, Union Olimpija-Geoplin Slovan 100-86.
Relegation Group - Round 5: Parklji crushed Kraski zidar Jadran 105-72. Rade Dzambic collected 20 points and 8 assists to lead five scorers in double figures. Miroslav Juric had 24 points for Kraski zidar Jadran.



Standings - 1A
1A Standings
Places 1-8
 1. Olimpija 11-0 
 2. Helios 9-3 
 3. Zlatorog 7-5 
 4. Krka 6-6 
 5. Slovan 6-6 
 6. Luka Koper 4-8 
 7. TCG Mercator 2-9 
 8. Elektra 2-10 
Places 9-13
 1. Alpos S. 12-18 
 2. Polzela 12-18 
 3. Zagorje 11-19 
 4. Kraski Zidar 9-21 
 5. Rogla 6-24 


*****************************************************
SPAIN

New player in Granada -by Robert Mayor
Nana Papa Yaw Mensah-Bonsu (202-C-83) is new C.B. Granada player for the next match. British center has signed a one-game-deal' with Spanish club that wants him in order to avoid losing category. Player comes from Benetton Treviso, averaging more than 9 points and 8 rebounds per game in LEGA.

Also in Granada, club has decided to cut center Olumide Oyedeji (208-C/F-81) that arrived a month ago in order to reforce the center position.


*****************************************************
U.S.VIRGIN ISLANDS

To save series, Spurs' shooters must help Duncan -by David Edole
By Jeff McDonald
San Antonio Express-News

For 11 seasons, coaches across the NBA have spent countless hours devising ways to keep Tim Duncan (208-F-76, college: Wake Forest) from absolutely killing them.

Given Duncan's Hall of Fame rsum, it is safe to say most of those hours have been wasted.

Faced with the Duncan dilemma in this year's Western Conference semifinals, New Orleans coach Byron Scott seems to have come up with a novel solution. He has forced Duncan into a different sport altogether.

They want Tim to be more of a quarterback, Spurs guard Michael Finley said.

Like an NFL signal caller in the face of an all-out blitz, Duncan has seen a steady stream of double-teams headed his way the first two games of the series. The objective has been to make Duncan give up the ball, and force any Spurs player not wearing No. 21 to beat them.

So far, this approach has worked wonders for the Hornets.

They own a 2-0 series lead, in part because their anybody but Duncan plan has yielded fewer than 85 points in both games.

If the Spurs aim to get back in the series in a crucial Game 3 tonight at the AT&T Center, this much is evident: Duncan's receivers need to step up and make plays.

Every year, people make a choice whether to double Timmy or not, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. They've decided to double him and that means that people have to make shots. We haven't done that.

Duncan has scored a grand total of 23 points in two games against the Hornets, but he also hasn't gotten much help.

Aside from a scorching first half from Bruce Bowen in Game 1 and a hot fourth quarter from Brent Barry in Game 2, the Spurs' perimeter shooters haven't made much of their open opportunities.

Manu Ginobili is 11 of 24 in the series, and 4 of 14 from 3-point range. Finley is 7 of 18 and 3 of 11. Bowen, after hitting five of his first six shots is one for his last 11.

So far in the series, the Spurs are shooting 41.7 percent, including 20 of 58 from the 3-point arc.

In another problem prompted by the Hornets' swarming defense, the Spurs have also committed 28 turnovers, leading to 44 points for New Orleans.

They've obviously done a heck of a job defensively frustrating all of us, with their double-teaming and their shifting, Duncan said. Then it seems like they come the other way and they're not missing shots. That stacked on top of each other just makes the whole game very frustrating.

Given Popovich's history of postseason tinkering in search of offensive punch, it wouldn't be surprising to see him shift Ginobili the Spurs' leading scorer from the bench to the starting five.

A less radical potential tweak: Barry, the Spurs' top perimeter shooter, could see more minutes after hitting 4 of 5 from 3-point land late in Game 2.

Neither adjustment, however, would alter the Spurs' No. 1 offensive objective heading into Game 3.

They're packing it in, and they're giving us those (outside) shots, Popovich said. We've got to step up and make them.

New Orleans' approach to defending Duncan is different than the one Phoenix used in the first round. The Suns sent only occasional double-teams Duncan's way and, as a result, he averaged 24.8 points in that series.

Perhaps Scott learned from the Suns' folly. Or, perhaps he learned from mistakes of his own.

The last time Scott faced the Spurs in the playoffs, as New Jersey's coach in the 2003 NBA Finals, he chose not to give Duncan the constant double-team treatment.

The Spurs won that series in six games, and Duncan averaged 24.2 points en route to his second of three Finals MVP awards.

Five years later, the Hornets have found success against the Spurs by turning Duncan almost exclusively into a passer.

Though Scott is pleased with the way his team has played defense so far, he says the Hornets are still giving up too many open looks. The Spurs tend to agree.

We have great looks, Tony Parker said. That's not the problem.

Still, don't expect the Hornets to change their strategy much in Game 3. The Spurs, meanwhile, could opt to give their offense a major makeover, and it still wouldn't change the reality.

A quarterback is only as good as his receivers, and a basketball team is only as good as its shooters.

At the end of the day, you have to make shots, Parker said. That's the only thing.

jmcdonald@express-news.net


*****************************************************
VENEZUELA

Standings - LPB
LPB Standings
 1. Trotamundos 25-5 
 2. Guaiqueries 18-9 
 3. Cocodrilos 17-10 
 4. Gatos 16-11 
 5. Gaiteros 16-12 
 6. Marinos 15-14 
 7. Guaros 11-19 
 8. Dep.Tachira 10-17 
 9. Panteras 8-22 
 10. Gigantes 6-23 


Venezuela's Senior head coach selected 18 players for Pre-Squad -by Francisco Vega
Barquisimeto, Venezuela.- Venezuela's new Senior NT head coach, Nelson Solorzano , picked 18 players for the first official trainings under his command, which will start in June 1st and that will include several friendly matches prior to the 2008 South American Championship, to be played in Puerto Montt, Chile, from June 30th till July 7th.

Among the players called up are included a few that participate in international leagues, such as NCAA players Greivis Vasquez (196-G-87) and Jesus Urbina (201-F-84), Italy's Lega A players Oscar Torres (195-F/G-76) and Hector Romero (202-F-80) and Puerto Rico's BSN player Rafael Perez (185-G-82), who is yet to debut in the Senior NT after he was called twice before and couldn't play due to injury or college related issues.

Torres comes back after missing the 2007 FIBA Americas Pre Olympic tournament in Las Vegas, United States, back when he was a player of Russia's CSKA Moscow and had been experiencing a serious knee injury that kept him aside, though he also had disagreements with the Venezuelan Basketball Federation. Urbina, who's been inactive for the past few months, will get a chance to proove himself fit enough to compete for a spot after he graduated from George Mason last year. Vasquez just finished his second year with the Maryland Terrapins and had a terrific season, but depends on a college permit so he can make the trip to Venezuela.

Other players called are Jose Vargas (196-G/F-82), Carlos Cedeno (193-G/F-85), Alejandro Barrios (205-F-79), Kevin Palacios (203-F/C-84), Miguel Angel Marriaga (207-C-84), Axiers Sucre (198-F-78) and Luis Bethelmi (200-C-86), coming back players such as Tomas Aguilera (198-F-77), Luis Julio (199-F-80) or Rafael Guevara (194-F-79) and some new faces, such as Eduardo Torres (195-F-81), Amber Marin (208-C-81) and Jesus Centeno (190-G-85). The list could have grown some more, but Diego Guevara (184-G-77) and Richard Lugo (209-C-73) refused to come back to the Senior Team. Some players from the past 2007 FIBA Americas tournament, such as Hernan Salcedo (198-F-80) or Herbert Bayona (211-C-78), were also left out in this list.

The team's general manager, Hector Escobar, said through a telephone interview to Diario El Impulso in Barquisimeto, right after a meeting in San Juan de los Morros with the FVB's president, Carmelo Cortez, that they're in the process of contacting other players like John Cox (196-G-81) and Javier Roman (207-F/C-80), both whom were born in Venezuela and are currently active in Le Havre, France and La Laguna, Spain. Cox sent a letter of intention to Marinos de Anzoategui's owner Domingo Cirigliano, who signed him into Venezuela's LPB for the current season, right after he finishes his compromises in Europe.




*****************************************************

Women News

*****************************************************
BELGIUM - Women

Katrien Vercauteren carries her team in top division -by Eurobasket News
Katrien Vercauteren (170-G-84, agency: LBM Management) and Sdent Sierre won the LNB season in Switzerland and booked their ticket to the LNA for the next year. It was a tremendous season for the team. Sdent Sierre finished the LNB regular season with a perfect 20-0 record and never slowed down in the playoffs. They thrashed Riva Ceresio II in the quarterfinal. Later Sdent Sierre breezed past BBC Cossonay in the semis before taking on Nyon in the Final best-of-three series. The first game was once again an easy trip for Sierre. They overwhelmed Nyon and celebrated a stunning 96:35 victory. Maria Villarroel paced the hosts with game-high 32 points. Katrien Vercauteren added 23 points for the winners. Nyon answered with 8 points from Sakellie Daniels . However in the next game Nyon turned the game into a real battle. Playing at home Nyon managed to build a 32:30 lead at halftime. But a sizzling performance from Maria Villarroel allowed Sierre to come from behind and posted a vital 70:56 claiming the title. Villarroel finished with 30 points. Rhona McKenzie added 16 points in a winning case. Sakellie Daniels answered with 22 points for Nyon. Ndack Gueye netted 11 points in a losing effort.
Ann Wauters (194-C-80) and her CSKA and Spartak opened the Final series in Russia. CSKA grabbed the first win away from home as seven players reached double digits for the winners. CSKA lost the opening quarter but then triumphed with 90:71. Ilona Korstine and Ann Wauters led the winners with 15 points apiece. Maria Stepanova netted 13, whilst Amaya Valdemoro and Lawson had 10 each. Diana Taurasi produced a good game for the hosts scoring 18 points.
More than 3000 spectators came to see another thriller of the best teams of the Play-offs and even the whole Europe. Spartak felt comfortable in the opening quarter taking 25:21 advantage. CSKA tied the score only at the half time as both squads left the court having 41:41. It was expected another battle in the second half, however CSKA had another opinion. The team from Moscow bounced with 26:13 and closed the game at 23:17 in the last period.
In the second game Spartak MR drew level with their archrivals CSKA in the Russian Superleague Final. CSKA quite easily claimed the win in the opening encounter of the series but the Euroleague champions struck back in the second game in Vidnoe. Lauren Jackson came up with a dazzling performance tallying game-high 34 points and 13 boards and Spartak stormed past CSKA for 1-1 draw in the series. CSKA got to a better start and held to a 21:15 lead after the first frame. But then Lauren Jackson and Diana Taurasi took over the floor. They gradually matched CSKA tempo and kept it at a striking distance throughout the second period. The breakaway for the hosts came in the third stanza as Spartak limited the visitors to 9 points and accumulated a 7-point lead before the fourth quarter. The teams flew over the court in the fourth period with the shots dropping from every corner. However Spartak were just more successful in this exchange of blows and celebrated a confident victory at the end. Diana Taurasi provided 23 points, while Sue Bird had 12 points in a winning case. Rebecca Hammon scored 26 points for CSKA. Maria Stepanova nailed 14 points and pulled down 10 boards in defeat. Ann Wauters collected 12 points and 7 rebounds for CSKA. Spartak sank 49% from the field and committed just 4 turnovers down the stretch. The series now move to Moscow for the next two games. The teams will clash in the capital on Friday.


*****************************************************
CROATIA - Women

Sibenik victorious in Game 3 -by Eurobasket News
Sibenik - Gospic 77:52

Jolly Sibenik thrashed Gospic 77:52 in the third game of the Final series in Croatian A1 League. The league favorites now enjoy 2-1 lead in the series and will look forward to close out the series and put on the crown on Sunday when they take on Gospic away from home. Yesterday Sibenik experienced little problems en route to a comfortable victory. The hosts led 23:14 after the starting stanza and kept Gospic at distance in the next frames. Moreover Sibenik stunned their opponents with a 28:5 run in the third period to pile up an unassailable 24-point cushion before the fourth term. Stipe Bralic allowed the reserves to log more minutes in the final period as the outcome was pretty clear at the moment. Natalia Tratsiak-Terglav (195-C-80) knocked down 20 points for Sibenik. Anda Jelavic (173-G-80) had 12 points, while Evelina Guneva (183-F-80, agency: Interperformances) and Tihana Juric (194-C-76) accounted for 10 points in a winning effort. Marina Mazic (190-C-80), Mirjana Tabak (182-F-72) and Orsolya Englert (170-G-80) nailed 10 points apiece in a losing case.

Sibenik: Natalia Tratsiak-Terglav 20, Anda Jelavic 12, Evelina Guneva 10, Tihana Juric 10
Gospic: Marina Mazic 10, Mirjana Tabak 10, Orsolya Englert 10


*****************************************************
FINLAND - Women

SM-SARJA: Niina Laaksonen season best -by Rauno Hurmalainen
The Finnish Basketball Association has named Niina Laaksonen (185-F/C-85) (YMCA Helsinki) season best player. Laaksonen averaged 19,9 ppg and 13,6 rpg and led her Team to bronze medals. Salla Viitanen (168-G-87) (HoNsU) was the newcomer of the year. Head Coach Seppo Kurki (PeKa, Kotka) was awarded as the Coach of the Year. Seppo's younger brother Mikko Kurki has re-signed with PuHu (Vantaa) for a 1-year-contract. And Top League newcomer Jymy (Orimattila) will be coached next season by Antti Koskelainen. Koskelainen lives in Lahti.

*****************************************************
FRANCE - Women

Celine Dumerc gives Bourges 1-0 lead in the Final -by Eurobasket News
Montpellier - Bourges 56:58 (OT)

Bourges continued their impressive winning rally in the LFB playoffs as they narrowly edged Montpellier in the Final opener. The regular season champions dominated for the major part of the game and held off fierce attempts from the hosts to save the game. The best-of-three series now moves to Bourges for the next two games.
Bourges limited the home side to 12 points in the starting frame and claimed an 18:12 advantage after 10 minutes of action. However Montpellier quickly rebounded and tightened defense to mount the pressure on the visitors. Montpellier outscored Bourges 17:10 in the second period and led 29:28 at halftime. The teams struggled to deliver points in the third frame with the scoreline showing 8:9 for Bourges at the end. The parity remained throughout the fourth stanza with neither side able to surge ahead substantially. All locked up at 49 the teams headed into overtime. Then Celine Dumerc (169-G-82) stepped up for Bourges. She put the visitors up and then netted a decisive jumper that allowed Bourges to celebrate a narrow 58:56 victory at the end. Emmeline Ndongue (194-F-83) finished with 13 points to pace Bourges. Celine Dumerc notched 11 points and 8 boards, while Catherine Melain (186-F-74) had 8 points for the winners. Elodie Bertal (190-C-84) launched 12 points and 7 boards for Montpellier. Aurelie Bonnan (187-F-83) scored 11 points, while Gunta Basko (181-F-80, college: Siena) and Sandra Dijon (195-C-79) accounted for 10 points each in a losing effort. Game 2 is scheduled for May 10.

Montpellier: Elodie Bertal 12, Aurelie Bonnan 11, Gunta Basko 10, Sandra Dijon 10
Bourges: Emmeline Ndongue 13, Celine Dumerc 11, Catherine Melain 8


*****************************************************
LATVIA - Women

Basko tries had in the final -by Eurobasket News
Bourges continued their impressive winning rally in the LFB playoffs as they narrowly edged Montpellier in the Final opener. The regular season champions dominated for the major part of the game and held off fierce attempts from the hosts to save the game. The best-of-three series now moves to Bourges for the next two games.
Bourges limited the home side to 12 points in the starting frame and claimed an 18:12 advantage after 10 minutes of action. However Montpellier quickly rebounded and tightened defense to mount the pressure on the visitors. Montpellier with Latvian Gunta Basko (181-F-80, college: Siena) outscored Bourges 17:10 in the second period and led 29:28 at halftime. The teams struggled to deliver points in the third frame with the scoreline showing 8:9 for Bourges at the end. The parity remained throughout the fourth stanza with neither side able to surge ahead substantially. All locked up at 49 the teams headed into overtime. Then Celine Dumerc stepped up for Bourges. She put the visitors up and then netted a decisive jumper that allowed Bourges to celebrate a narrow 58:56 victory at the end. Emmeline Ndongue finished with 13 points to pace Bourges. Celine Dumerc notched 11 points and 8 boards, while Catherine Melain had 8 points for the winners. Elodie Bertal launched 12 points and 7 boards for Montpellier. Aurelie Bonnan scored 11 points, while Gunta Basko and Sandra Dijon accounted for 10 points each in a losing effort. Game 2 is scheduled for May 10.
Before that the third-ranked Montpellier handled USVO 68:66 on the road to book their spot in the title decider. Valenciennes got to a slightly better start to the game as they led 23:21 after 10 minutes of action. Montpellier surged ahead in the second period outscoring the hosts 21:15 and accumulating a 4-point cushion at the long break. The visitors kept on mounting the pressure and enjoyed an 8-point buffer before the fourth stanza. USVO fought bravely in the dying moments cutting the deficit to minimum. But Montpellier withstood in the crunch time and celebrated a narrow win. Grace Daley finished with 18 points for Montpellier. Sandra Dijon knocked down 13 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, while Gunta Basko potted 11 points for the winning side. Reka Cserny nailed 15 points for USVO. Francesca Zara and Nicole Ohlde netted 10 points in a loss.
Anete Jekabsone-Zogota (176-F-83) and Ieva Kublina (193-C-82, college: Virginia Tech) is leading the Play-outs in Russian Superleague. The team did not make it to the play-offs, but now proves the wins in every game.


*****************************************************
ROMANIA - Women

Players abroad -by Eurobasket News

Gabriella Szoke (186-C-68), Edith Szoke (186-F/C-69) and Annamaria Trybswasser (-85)'s effort was enough to carry Herzogenburg to the silver medals in Austria. Flying Foxes however became the AWBL after they held off Herzogenburg in Game 4 of the championship series. Flying Foxes won two games away from home to grab a 2-0 lead in the series. But then suddenly the defending champs lost to Herzogenburg at home a couple of days ago. But the intrigue did not live for too long. Flying Foxes picked up right from where they left in Herzogenburg and sealed the series. Flying Foxes got to an aggressive start outscoring the visitors 20:7 in the opening stanza. Herzogenburg sparked in the second quarter but managed just not to lose the quarter completing it at 23 apiece. Flying Foxes prevailed physically and easily raised the tempo to run away to a 23-point distance after three quarters of action. Herzogenburg never threatened the hosts lead and had to surrender at the end. Martina Remler paced the home side with 20 points. Yaneth Arias provided 16 points for the winners. DiAndrea Humpries and Gabriella Szoke posted 15 points apiece in a losing effort. Annamaria Trybswasser produced 4 points for her Herzogenburg.

Andreea Nemes (185-F-88) and Sdent Sierre won the LNB season in Switzerland and booked their ticket to the LNA for the next year. It was a tremendous season for the team. Sdent Sierre finished the LNB regular season with a perfect 20-0 record and never slowed down in the playoffs. They thrashed Riva Ceresio II in the quarterfinal. Later Sdent Sierre breezed past BBC Cossonay in the semis before taking on Nyon in the Final best-of-three series. The first game was once again an easy trip for Sierre. They overwhelmed Nyon and celebrated a stunning 96:35 victory. Maria Villarroel paced the hosts with game-high 32 points. Katrien Vercauteren added 23 points for the winners. Nyon answered with 8 points from Sakellie Daniels . However in the next game Nyon turned the game into a real battle. Playing at home Nyon managed to build a 32:30 lead at halftime. But a sizzling performance from Maria Villarroel allowed Sierre to come from behind and posted a vital 70:56 claiming the title. Villarroel finished with 30 points. Rhona McKenzie added 16 points in a winning case. Andreea Nemes posted 6 points for the winners.



*****************************************************
SERBIA - Women

Standings - Women
A Standings
Superleague
 1. Hemofarm 25-1 
 2. Crvena Zv. 20-6 
 3. Partizan 19-7 
 4. Spartak 18-8 
 5. Vojvodina 15-11 
 6. Proleter 12-14 
Others in Stage One
 1. Kraljevo 9-13 
 2. Kovin 7-15 
 3. Loznica 7-15 
 4. Usce 5-17 
 5. Radnicki NB 4-18 
 6. Stara Pazova 3-19 


*****************************************************
SLOVAKIA - Women

Kosit 2013 closes on the title -by Eurobasket News
Ruzomberok - Kosit 2013 62:71

Kosit 2013 made another step towards the Extrliga title as they handled MBK Ruzomberok in the second game of the Final best-of-five series. Kosit now has good chances of closing out the series at home on Saturday. Janel McCarville (188-C-82, college: Minnesota) came up with another sizzling performance scoring 28 points and carrying Kosit to a cruising victory. McCarville was trumped the Extraliga MVP for the season before the game. She surpassed her teammate Luisa Michulkova (179-F-84) and Sadio Sangare (191-C-80, college: Oklahoma City) from Poprad in the poll for the most valuable player award. McCarville lived up to the status pacing the visitors in the second period when they went on a 21:9 run to accumulate a 43:29 lead at halftime. Ruzomberok had little to oppose after the break as Kosit played hard defense, while McCarville and Luisa Michulkova steered the offense well. Ruzomberok trimmed the deficit by 2 points in the third stanza and got a bit closer in the fourth but all in vain. The Kosice outfit controlled the situation and rolled to the second straight win in the Final series. Luisa Michulkova contributed 16 points, while Alena Kovacova (190-C-78) nailed 11 for the winners. Lindsey Wilson (176-81) answered with 17 points for Ruzomberok. Regina Palusna (192-C-89) provided 16 points in a losing case. Kosit limited the hosts to 38% accuracy from the field. The visitors also outmuscled their opponents under the rims and their bench turned out to be more productive down the stretch. The could-be decisive third game is scheduled for May 10 in Kosice.

Ruzomberok: Lindsey Wilson 17, Regina Palusna 16
Kosit 2013: Janel McCarville 28, Luisa Michulkova 16, Alena Kovacova 11


*****************************************************
SLOVENIA - Women

Celje accomplishes semifinal mission -by Eurobasket News
Celje made it to the SKL Final routing Jezica 89:73 in the second game of the best-of-three semifinal series. Jezica must win to keep the series open and they entered the game on the maximum speed. The hosts outscored Celje 24:22 in the high dynamic first quarter but the rally was quickly halted by the visitors. Celje took over the control and managed to slow down the home team. With their defense working hard Celje were able to surge in front 45:42 at halftime. The second half brought little relief for the home side. Lucie Conkova (186-F-83) continued to dominate the offense for Celje and the visitors marched confidently to another victory in the series. The gap reached a 15-point mark before the fourth term and Celje never looked back again. Lucie Conkova came up with 28 points and 7 boards for Cleje. Monique Blake (188-F-85, agency: Merit Sports, college: Seton Hall) had 24 points and 10 boards for the winners. Tina Trebec (189-F/C-90) provided 27 points and 11 rebounds for Jezica. Kristina Pavli (193-C-87) secured 18 points and 7 caroms in defeat. Celje shot impressive 50% from behind the arc and forced the hosts to as many as 21 turnovers.
In the meantime AJM Maribor forced the third decisive game against Hit Kranjska Gora. They survived the home test handing out a 76:68 loss to Hit Kr. Gora and the teams would have to clash on Saturday to single out the finalist. Andreja Tisler (178-G-85) launched 21 points to pace Maribor to a vital victory. AJM Maribor dominated for the major part of the game keeping the second-ranked Hit Kr. Gora at bay. Maribor accumulated an 8-point buffer before the final frame and never surrendered it in the dying minutes. Alma Pehadzic (173-G-82) tallied 19 points, 7 boards and 3 assists in a win. Spela Erzen (190-C/F-80) led the visitors with 18 points. Lidija Becanovic (188-F/C-80) delivered 16 points and 8 boards in a loss.


*****************************************************
TURKEY - Women

Fenerbahce steals a narrow win away from Galatasaray -by Eurobasket News
Galatasaray - Fenerbahce 73:74

Fenerbahce surged ahead in the TBBL Final series after edging Galatasaray 74:73 in overtime in Game 3. The teams were all tied at 1-1 after the first two encounters and the third game lived up to the status of the heated rivalry. The hosts got to a slightly better start as they held to a 16:7 lead early on. However Fenerbahce soon denied the deficit and Cappie Pondexter (175-G-83, college: Rutgers) together with Volnaya tied it all at 19 at the end of the period. The hosts scored 4 points in a row to open the second period but Esmeral Tuncluer (175-G-80) came up with some crucial buckets as Fenerbahce stepped in front and rolled to a 36:30 lead at halftime. Tammy Sutton-Brown (193-C-78, college: Rutgers) stretched the gap to as many as 8 points early in the third stanza but Galatasaray were far from being done. Esra Sencebe (170-G-81, agency: Prosportman) cut the gap back to a single point with her three-pointer late in the third quarter and Fenerbahce headed into the final part of the clash with 52:51 cushion. The hosts jumped ahead soon but led 67:63 with less than 3 minutes left in regulation. But Cappie Pondexter notched vital basket to square things up at 67 and forced overtime. Esra Sencebe gave the home side a 71:68 lead at the start of the extra frame but once again it was Cappie Pondexter who cut the deficit and later Tammy Sutton-Brown put the visitors up for good 74:73. Cappie Pondexter finished the game with 26 points, 6 boards and 4 assists for Fenerbahce. Tammy Sutton-Brown had 12 points and Esmeral Tuncluer provided 11 in a win. Sophia Young (186-F-83, college: Baylor) answered with 17 points and 9 boards for Galatasaray. Esra Sencebe netted 16 points in defeat. Game 4 is scheduled for Saturday.

Galatasaray: Sophia Young 17+9 boards, Esra Sencebe 16
Fenerbahce: Cappie Pondexter 26, Tammy Sutton-Brown 12, Esmeral Tuncluer 11


*****************************************************
VENEZUELA - Women

Venezuela's Senior Team began trainings in San Juan de los Morros -by Francisco Vega

Barquisimeto, Venezuela.- A group of 21 players called up by head coach Enrique Gil , began trainings in San Juan de los Morros, Guarico, to try and gain a spot in the 12-woman roster that will travel to Ecuador to play the South American Championship from May 24th till the 30th, and fight for a spot in the FIBA Americas Pre World Cup Tournament, later this year.

A few members of the group are expected to arrive later, as they play in international leagues or have college duties. That's the case with Maria Villarroel (174-G-78, college: Oklahoma), player of Sierre Basket in Switzerland, and also NCAA players such as Mirna Araujo (183-F-87), Yesi Castillo (175-F, college: E.Oklahoma St. JC) or Ivaney Marquez (-83). Even Jofranny Guerra and Veronica Hernandez played in a semi-pro league in Ecuador.

Other members of the squad are Cleider Blanco (-90), Roselis Silva (-91), Germary Blanco (-90), Miriam Rodriguez, Yosimar Corrales (-90), Karen Hernandez, Maria Requena (-90), Kiancy Barragan (-90), Sonia Rodriguez (-90), Igsen Muria (-90), Endrina Bolivar (-90), Jannaly Montilla, Maria Cabrices (-90), Dahilifer Iserny (-90) y Francesca Curvelo. Their main goal is take away the current title holders in the South American area, Brazil. Venezuela gained historic titles in the last couple of years in the U16 and U18 cathegories, both times in Ecuador.


The team will play three friendly matches against Trinidad and Tobago in San Juan de los Morros from May 9th till the 11th.