Curtain came down on the long 2016 Turkish Airlines Euro-league season with CSKA Moscow winning their seventh continental crown by defeating Fenerbahce Istanbul 101-96. The match turned out to be an overtime classic of a final played out in Berlin’s Mercedes Benz Arena on Sunday May 15, 2016. While the Russian Club could be regarded as worthy winners, Fenerbahce Istanbul may take pride as Euro-league history’s first Turkish club ever to reach the Championship Game. The closely-contested final will be remembered for long for its quality as both sides had their chances until the very end. Fittingly, the winner could only be decided in extra time. Just like in the semifinal, CSKA’s Nando de Colo played a crucial role in his team’s victory by scoring 10 of his 22 points in the overtime to tilt the balance in his team’s favor. There were no surprises in de Colo being declared as the Final Four MVP. In a huge success for Russian Basketball, the third-placed team Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar also belonged to Russia.

Nando De Colo opened the first-quarter scoring but Fenerbahce’s Nikola Kalinic’s triple showed the intention of the Turkish Club, who led 11-7 with Luigi Datome and Bogdan Bogdanovic scoring early baskets. CSKA’s Andrey Vorontsevich reversed the lead to 12-11 with a triple and a pair of free throws. In a swinging spell of scoring from either side, CSKA obtained a 20-15 cushion from Milos Teodosic’s scoring. But the scores were tied once again with efforts from Fenerbahce’s Jan Vesely, Ricky Hickman and Datome. However, captain Victor Khryapa’s second-chance jumper ended the first quarter 22-20 in CSKA’s favor.

Although the second quarter began with both teams scoring, CSKA pulled away with an 18-1 run that left Fenerbahce far behind. This was brought about by combined efforts from de Colo, Teodosic, Andrey Vorontsevich, Cory Higgins, Kyle Hines and Pavel Kurbanov. CSKA held a big halftime margin of 50-30.

cska-moscow-champ-final-four-berlin-2016-eb15Fenerbahce’s Jan Vesely opened the third quarter with a layup and after a three-pointer by CSKA’s Hines, Bogdanovic and Vesely cut the difference to 53-36. Fenerbahce looked on comeback trail but with Vesely missing 4 free throws, Fenerbahce lost an opportunity to cut the deficit further. CSKA found its momentum through Teodosic and de Colo and took the score to 60-39. But Antic hit a triple for Fenerbahce and although Teodosic countered right back, Fenerbahce still maintained pressure through Sloukas, Antic and Dixon as the quarter ended 69-53 in CSKA’s favor.

The fourth quarter was ruled by Fenerbahce as Udoh began with a dunk. Besides Udoh, baskets kept coming from Datome and Udoh. Fenerbahce’s charge reduced the deficit to 10 points with 6 minutes left on the buzzer. Vorontsevich made his fifth personal foul and Datome took advantage to cut the deficit to 8 points but Khryapa hit a triple to make it 66-77. With time ticking away, Datome hit a triple, Antic scored from free throws, Udoh found another second chance dunk and Dixon hit a transition triple. However, CSKA still led 79-78. In a furious bout of scoring, De Colo made a layup but Dixon hit a triple to tie up the score. With 43 seconds remaining, Fenerbahce tightened their defenses Sloukas made 2 free throws to take Fenerbahce ahead. However, CSKA captain Khryapa scored in dying moments to make it 83-83 and drove the game into the overtime.

As the 5-minute overtime began, Sloukas hit a triple and Fenerbahce went into the lead but De Colo and Higgins reversed it to 87-86. Fenerbahce took the lead again with Bogdanovic’s short baseline jumper. Then Hines and De Colo restored the advantage for CSKA at 91-88 with 2 minutes 10 seconds remaining. Fenerbahce took a timeout and began with Udoh’s dunk but De Colo kept CSKA in front with his foul shots. Hines’ put-back made it 95-90 for CSKA. At this point, Khryapa made a huge block on Kalinic and De Colo scored from free throws to extend the margin by 7 points with 38 seconds left. But Fenerbahce were in no mood to quit just yet. Dixon came up with a brilliant triple but when Fenerbahce fouled Teodosic with 17 seconds left, Teodosic netted 2 free throws. Datome immediately scored a triple with 7.5 seconds left but Fenerbahce still lost as De Colo made 2 more free throws to seal the win for his team and CSKA took their 7th Euroleague title.

In the third-place tie played earlier, Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar defeated Laboral Kutxa Vitoria Gasteiz 85-75. Six Lokomotiv players scored in double digits with Malcolm Delaney and Ryan Broekhoff scoring 21 points each. It was a close game as well with the first-half score ending 42-40 in Laboral’s favor. But Lokomotiv surged ahead in the third quarter with an 11-0 run that proved vital in the end. For Laboral, Darius Adams’ 25 points and Davis Bertans’ 13 went in vain.