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Berlin finally win No. 9, Knight named MVP, Calles new Hamburg head coach

Berlin finally win No. 9, Knight named MVP, Calles new Hamburg head coach

— David Hein

The 2019-20 German champion is ALBA BERLIN after they knocked off MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg in both games of the easyCredit BBL Final Tournament 2020 Finals to win their ninth league crown.

They also took the German double for the first time since 2003 after having won the German Cup earlier this season. Ludwigsburg’s Marcos Knight was named MVP of the tournament despite missing the club’s first appearance in the Finals. And in big news off the court, Hamburg Towers were able to wrestle away Pedro Calles from RASTA Vechta to take the reins as new head coach.

In this section, we break out our English language skills and inform you about the latest news from the German easyCredit Basketball Bundesliga. If you’re short on time but still want your fill of Germany’s top basketball league then you are in the right place. Every week David Hein (www.heinnews.com) brings you up-to-date in German basketball – the easyCredit BBL short and sweet:

Berlin return to the top of Germany for first time since 2008

It’s been a long time coming for ALBA BERLIN, but they can finally call themselves German champions again after defeating MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg 163-139 over two games in the Finals of the easyCredit BBL Final Tournament 2020. Berlin collected their ninth league crown to go along with titles from 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2008. It was also the club’s first double since 2003 as the won the German Cup earlier this season. Ludwigsburg were playing in the Finals for the first time in club history and had only reached two Finals of the German Cup in their past.

Berlin pull even all time with Bamberg for second place

By winning the crown, ALBA BERLIN pulled into a tie for second place in the all-time list of German champions at nine alongside Brose Bamberg. Berlin and Bamberg still have a ways to go to match the record holders as Bayer Giants Leverkusen won the league 14 times from 1970 to 1996.

Berlin finish tournament with 10 straight wins

ALBA BERLIN knew coming into Game 2 of the Finals that they were all but secured their ninth league title, but they were able to fend off a late comeback and beat MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg 75-74 for their 10th victory in 10 games in the easyCredit BBL Final Tournament 2020. Berlin used a 16-2 run to open a 21-11 lead in the first quarter. Niels Giffey scored nine points as the lead grew to 64-50 in the third quarter and the gap was 71-59 early in the fourth quarter when Ludwigsburg made a push to try to at least win the game. Thomas Wimbush and Nick Weiler-Babb sparked a 13-2 run to cut the deficit to 73-72 in the final minute but Martin Hermannsson locked up the victory with a layup. Giffey and Hermannsson both scored 14 points for Berlin while Marcus Eriksson added 13 points and Landry Nnoko chipped in 12 points. Ludwigsburg were once again missing Marcos Knight with his injured foot. Wimbush tallied 19 points and 8 rebounds while Jaleen Smith had 15 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals Nick Weiler-Babb added 14 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists in the loss.

Berlin lay foundation for title No. 9 with big Game 1

ALBA BERLIN laid the foundation for their ninth title with a superb showing in Game 1 of the Finals as they collected an 88-65 victory over MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg. Berlin went on an 18-4 run in the second quarter to open a 40-24 advantage. They started the second half with a 12-2 surge and the lead was 58-31 and a 9-2 spurt had the cushion up to 30 points - 67-37 - late in the third quarter. Ludwigsburg were able to pull within 18 points in the fourth quarter but ended up losing by 23 points and setting up an improbable task in Game 2. Martin Hermannsson and Rokas Giedraitis both scored 14 points for Berlin while Niels Giffey, Marcus Eriksson and Landry Nnoko all scored 12 points and Luke Sikma and Peyton Siva both tallied 10 points in the win. Ludwigsburg’s chances took a major hit before the game even started as Marcos Knight was ruled out with a foot injury after having collected double-doubles in the last four games. Nick Weiler-Babb and Jonas Wohlfarth-Bottermann did both score 11 points, but Jaleen Smith was held to just 5 points and Thomas Wimbush only had 2 points.

Ludwigsburg star Knight named MVP without playing Finals

The Most Valuable Player of the easyCredit BBL Final Tournament 2020 was Marcos Knight of MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg, who averaged 18.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.3 steals. Knight was named MVP even though he did not play in the Finals because of an injured foot. But Knight played a huge part in Ludwigsburg even reaching their first Finals with four straight double-doubles, and the captains of the 10 teams in the tournament chose Knight as the MVP.

Calles moves from Vechta to Hamburg

In news outside of the tournament, Hamburg Towers locked up their first choice for a new coach as they signed Pedro Calles to a two-year deal until 2022. The 36-year-old Spaniard comes to the Towers after opting out of his contract with RASTA Vechta, where he gained international attention for guiding the club to the Semi-Finals of the 2018-19 playoffs in his first season as head coach with the promoted club. This season despite losing a number of his top players from the previous year, Calles helped Vechta to a 12-9 record in the Regular Season and a spot in the easyCredit BBL Final Tournament 2020, where the team finished ninth with just one victory as the club was missing a number of players. Vechta also collected six wins in 14 games in the Basketball Champions League in the club’s debut season internationally. Hamburg struggled in their first season in Germany’s top flight with a 3-17 record before the Covid-19 outbreak and refused to re-sign head coach Mike Taylor, leaving the opening for Calles.

Bonn opt out of deal with Subotic, add youngster Albrecht

Telekom Baskets Bonn made two moves looking ahead to the up-coming season by letting go of a veteran and adding a youngster. Bonn exercised their option and released power forward Bojan Subotic. The 29-year-old Montenegro big man joined Bonn in 2018 and averaged 7.5 points and 3.8 rebounds in 36 German league and international games last season. Bonn did add a young talent with the signing of 18-year-old Bruno Albrecht from ProA side EHINGEN URSPRING. The combo guard, who came up through the NINERS Chemnitz system, will have a double license next season with Bonn and Dragons Rhöndorf. The 1.87 meter Albrecht, who once scored 95 points in a game for BBC Cottbus, appeared in 12 ProA games last season and averaged 19.1 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists for Ehingen in the U19 NBBL league. In 2019, he also played in the Adidas Next Generation Tournament for FC Bayern Munich.

Würzburg add 22-year-old center Weitzel to pro team

s.Oliver Würzburg rewarded Jonas Weitzel for three years of hard work in the club and added him to the easyCredit BBL team for the 2020-21 season. The 22-year-old center, who joined Würzburg in 2017 from Göttingen, played for Würzburg three seasons in the ProB third division. The 2.05 meter big man averaged 17.0 points and 7.3 rebounds last season in the ProB and made his top flight debut in October, picking up 2 points, 1 rebound, 1 steal and 1 block against FC Bayern Munich.

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