We had to wait until the end of the marathon season to choose between the two best French teams of the season. On Saturday 25 June, at the end of a crucial and five-time final extension, Asfael Lyon Villeurbanne snatched best Monaco (84-82 AB) to win the 21st.e The title of French champion in its history for the third consecutive year.
The scenes of joy at the last bell on Earth, where T.J. Parker is quickly joined by his older brother and chief, Tony, symbolize the great redemption felt by the Rodanians. “It was a great, great final for French basketball, The latter cheered at the BeIn Sports mic, the cap with the title image already screwed over his head. It’s hard to date the sport and tonight we celebrate the history of French basketball. »
The best French basketball player in history, club president since 2014, knows that his team is only the fourth to achieve a “Three peat” (Three titles in a row) in the French Championship after ASVEL (1955-1957) and CSP Limoges twice (1983-1985 and 1988-1990).
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Tony Parker also knows that this fourth crown in the past six seasons (2016, 2019 and 2021, the 2020 season wasn’t over yet) wasn’t the easiest to beat as Monaco challenged him all season. Both teams won four head-to-head matches during the year.
Shocked from Monaco this season
A true locomotive for French basketball for several seasons, Asvel saw its dominance at the start of practice. Monaco, who had already been defeated twice in the Pro A final in 2018 and 2019 (against Le Mans then Villeurbanne), adjusted their ambitions upward after winning the Eurocoupe (C2), qualifying automatically at the Euroleague (C1) where they brilliantly reached the quarter-finals.
If Asvel still has the best budget (15 million euros against 14.1 for Monaco), it no longer weighs in terms of salaries (3.9 million euros against 6.7) thanks to the royal recruitment of the principality club, including one of the best players. In Europe, Mike James. Two distinct projects opposed each other: the accumulation of American talent for Monaco, which is the majority of the famous French players in Asvel.
This difference in vision culminated in this final. Roca (the Monaco nickname) led the series twice and even had the chance to win, on Wednesday at home, the first French Championship title in its nearly century-old history (founded 1924). But as in the second match, the Monaco team played without conviction, which multiplied the individual options.
Saturday, the series was no exception to the rule. Asvel relied on its Hab to put the ASM on the mats. If Finals MVP Eli Okubo (20 points) misses the free-throw after less than two seconds of regulation time (75-75, 40)e) after an acrobatic basket, assisted by William Howard (15 points). The winger planted two award-winning baskets in overtime before passing the decisive counter over Paris Lee (8 points) who spins into the basket 15 seconds into the overtime end (83-82, 45.e). Well, Marcus Knight imitated it a few seconds later, depriving Dwayne Bacon of one last ammunition.
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“It was a big match, we expected a tough match, Howard analyzed at the end of the match. It’s great fun. You should never quit in a match like this, who loses first. »
Villeurbanne was the first hit in this finale. On the heels of their landslide victory in Match 4 (85-68), Asvel kicked their feet on the ground to ignite the already suffocating Astrobel. With 17 points for a trio made up of French internationals Eli Okubo and Youssoufa Valle (14 points in total) as well as former Monaco Marcos Knight (8 points), Rodanion flew away in the first quarter (26-13).
Mike James sends a thrill on Astroballe
Meanwhile, Team Roca lost in the individual solutions. Mike James, Dwayne Bacon and Paris Lee accumulated poorly 3/19 in shooting at the break, with their team trailing by ten points (43-33).
But ASM nibbled away, even returning to equality before the end of the third trimester (53-53, 30e). Then it’s the moment Mike James (16 points) picked to come out of his slumber. With eight points scored in less than two minutes at the start of the fourth quarter, the American captain was able to completely calm down Villeurbanne’s 5,500 supporters, as Dwayne Bacon (60-68, 36) carried them off.e).
At the end of the game where each team will have its own title ball, Monaco fails to conclude, as Alpha Diallo (14 points) on the free-throw line in the last minute of regulation time.
” You have to work to figure out how to win this kind of end gameMonaco coach Sasa Obradovic analyzed at a press conference. It’s a whole bunch of little things that keep us from winning tonight. We must congratulate Asfel who deserved to win the title, all the management and organization of this club and everything they do for French basketball. We will look to the future and build the team tomorrow. »
With a goal, time and time again, he broke Villeurbanne’s dominance of tri-color basketball.