There are 5 minutes left and Elan Béarnais leads 66-56. The entire Pau sports hall is standing and the 6,000 fans present in the hall are beginning to believe in the feat. And yet on the visitors’ bench, Zvezdan Mitrovic does not panic. His men are not having a good day, but he knows they have the means to make it through. And he’s right. Carried by the accuracy of Paris Lee and the activity of Donta Hall, Alpha Diallo and Ibrahima Fall Faye, the Monegasques had an 18-0 win at Pau to close the match and win 74 to 66.
Pau deserves better
A match that Pau struggled to start. Fortunately for them, the Monegasques were not having a great day. The fact of having played Friday 250 km away, in Vitoria in EuroLeague, seems to weigh on the legs. After 10 minutes, the Roca Team leads by 3 points (20-17).
Pau continues to believe in it. Pushed by their fans, the Béarnais managed a consistent basket, despite the good comeback of Léo Westerman. The French international controls the tempo of this match and allows his team to join the locker room with 1 point ahead (41-40).
The first 20 minutes allowed the Palois to believe in the feat. They come back with the firm intention of casting doubts on the Principality’s players. The third act is an ordeal for the Monegasques. Assaulted, they cannot find open shots. Conversely, the EBPLO unfolds the perfect plan. Found under the basket by his teammates, Hamady N’Diaye dunke at all costs and set fire to the Palace. The championship leader only scores 6 points in 10 minutes. 0 during the last 5 minutes of the quarter time (56-47).
Pau cash an 18-0 in 5 minutes
But, that was before the famous and cruel last 5 minutes. The sense of pride at having been able to play eye-to-eye with Mitrovic’s men cannot erase the disappointment at having let slip a match that was reaching out to them.
It is the mark of great teams to never doubt. Conversely, Pau may have been afraid of winning… This evening, despite the bankruptcy of some executives (Vitalis Chikoko and Dominique Archie in the lead), the Green and White have shown that they have the capacity to fight against this fact better in its territory.