Telekom Baskets

Gamble refuses to lose

Centre Gamble rescues the Baskets.

Bonn. Centre Gamble rescues the Baskets against Vechta in the closing second and leads them to an 88:83 victory in extra time.

This season with the Telekom Baskets Bonn has certainly not been boring. Tuesday’s celebrated 95:93 victory against Bayern Munich was followed yesterday by a game against bottom of the table Rasta Vechta that had the 4530 spectators on tenterhooks to the end and which was only decided in extra time. The fifth placed team won by the skin of their teeth with 88:83 (25:25, 18:25, 16:13, 18:14, 11:6).

The Baskets had almost looked like the losers up to the final phase. Centre Julian Gamble dunked the ball two seconds from the final whistle to make it 77:77 thereby ensuring five minutes of extra time during which he played a key role in the victory by scoring another seven points. He was the top scorer with 21 points in a game in which the Baskets allowed a guest team to gather confidence by the minute and which deserved to win.

“Our defence in the first half was not at the level it was against Bayern Munich. We played without the necessary intensity,” explained Bonn’s trainer Predrag Krunic. Vechta had a comfortable lead of 50:43 at the break instigated in the most part by Derrick Allen and Frank Gaines. But the other Rasta men also profited from aggressive, quick and decisive play by their team that made for clear uncertainty in the Baskets team until shortly after the break.

When Gaines scored from a distance to make it 53:43, the home team gradually got going. An initial spark was provided by Julian Gamble when he stole the ball from Philipp Neumann on the midline to make it 53:57. Vechta fought back to 75:68 but Bonn now had the intensity in their game that their coach had demanded of them and Yorman Polas Bartolo’s substitution was particularly noticeable. The German-Cuban kept Gaines and others on their toes. Krunic said, “Yorman was very important to us today. He did a good job.”

Bonn equalised at 75:75 but with 13 seconds to go before the final whistle Besnik Bekteshi put Vechta in front from the free throw line to make it 77:75. Vechta coach Andreas Wagner was dismayed when Gamble got the ball from the next throw in and forced extra time.

The 2.08 metre tall player scored twice and Bartolo sealed the deal in the end with two free throws. “Our one-on-one defence in the second half was the key to our success, but it was hard work,” said Baskets player TJ DiLeo.

Bonn have another home game on Wednesday at 7.30pm against Nikosia in the Fiba Europe Cup.

(Original text: Gerhard Mertens. Translated by Kate Carey.)