By: Freaknick

– OK, so I missed the first quarter of the game. But let’s be real: they had free tuna sandwishes in the media workroom. And bottled water, which was also free. In America, free is awesome. In Europe, free is usually too good to be true. I’ll probably be billed at some point in the next week.

– Oh, by the way, Bilbao Basket is up 17-15 at the end of the first quarter. Chris Warren has 5, nobody else with more than 3 for BB. Ian Vougioukas has 7 for Panellinios.

– The arena doesn’t have quite the same buzz for a third place game. Not surprising I guess.

– I have to give the Bilbao crowd some props though. They’ve been quite rowdy from the tip. I forgive Panellinios for not showing up a little stronger. Greece is pretty far away. If you don’t believe me, I think they publish copies of maps online or something…

– Taking a break to do some research/preview work for the championship game. Be back in a quarter, when it matters. Like, really matters.

FOURTH QUARTER

-Bilbao’s up 4 to start the 4th quarter. 58-54. Their crowd, still loud.

-A huge Bilbao three makes it 61-54. Is that the dagger, still with 9 minutes left? Doubt it. Panellinios didn’t give up last night.

– 6:00 left now and Panellinios has pulled it to within 3 points. 63-60. Wuh-oh.

-Panellinios throws it away down low again. Didn’t they learn anything from all of Bilbao’s failed alley-oop attmepts to Jerome Moiso last night? I suppose not. If I could shout loud enough I would tell them. Or if I could shout loud enough, also in Greek, I would tell them.

-Bilbao breathes a bit more easily. Bucket on the other end. Points off turnovers are as tasty as Twinkies.

– Check that: tastier.

-Papamakarios at the line for two. Hits one. 65-61, Bilbao ball.

– Seibutis misses an ill-advised jumper. His hands were up the entire play, looking for a shot. One track mind. Might want to find a second, because that one wasn’t working.

– Panellinios empty on the other end. Moiso at the other end, on the line shooting two. Hits the first and…hits the second. On an otherwise rough night (2 points on 1-5 shooting), Moiso is moist at the line.

-Kostas Charalampidis is wet on the first free throw. Wetter on the second. 67-63 again. Can somebody make a shot?

-Moiso answers my rhetorical blog question with a JJAAAMMMM! 69-63 and the fans smell a W.

-Moiso misses this time and Panellinios pulls it to 69-65 with an Ian Vougioukas bucket. After an 11-point first half, he’s been quiet here in the second.

-A short break and time to tell you this: it seems as though Spanish love is in the air. The Valencia crowd is fully behind Bilbao. Joining in on the chants, cheering for the hoops, getting pissed at the same refs for the same lapses in judgment. Pretty cute. Let’s see if the love is mutual tonight when Bilbao watches Valencia take flight.

-1:21 to go and Bilbao is up 71-65. After a dismal performance last night from Marko Banic, he’s rebounded tonight with 15, 7 of which came in the third quarter. Good for you, Marko.

-For the record though, still not overly impressed with Banic. I realize my sample size is quite small, but this is supposed to be the big stage, right? I feel like this may one of the few times when a rush to judgment isn’t the worst thing in the world.

-The Valencia fans draw the line at standing and jumping during a timeout break. They are wise to save their legs for tonight’s showdown with Berlin. I may leave my seat a few times myself. Mainly because I have an entire press row to myself.

-I’d like to thank Nancy Liu of “A Basketball Dream” and Paraschos of “Sprt24.gr” for not showing up, leaving me some arm/leg/thinking space.

-Seibutis at the line with 12.1 seconds left, hits 1 out of 2. Oh well, this game has been on ice for a hot minute.

-Hope the champagne was on ice as well, 76-67 Bilbao wins. Hugs and handshakes all around.

-I really like the European tradition of applauding the fans at the end of each game. In fact, I love it. Nothing like a salute to the people who make their salaries/lifestyles possible.

-Bilbao owes their victory to Alex Mumbru’s 16, Marko Banic’s 15, and Chris Warren’s 12 points. Axel Hervelle switched it up today, opting for rebounds (10) over questionable shots.

Ian Vougioukas was the only semi-lustrous star tonight for Panellinios with 16 hard earned points. Last night’s top scorer Devin Smith (29) only played 13 minutes and scored three points. I didn’t see him in the second half, so maybe he was hurt. That would be the only logical explanation. Or maybe it’s just the inconsistent minutes that run rampant in European ball.

-Congratulations Bilbao. And now, for the main course…