Real Madrid secured the Costa del Sol Tournament for the sixth time after overcoming Zalgiris Kaunas to finish with a record of two wins and no defeats, having beaten Unicaja on Sunday. Chus Mateo‘s side put on another fine offensive display in their second warm-up match of the pre-season against EuroLeague opposition who were physically tough to play against, but Madrid stayed in the game in the first quarter before putting together a decisive 15-point scoring run in the third quarter. The academy players excelled for Real Madrid who were spearheaded by Sergio Rodríguez (16 points and 11 assists) and Tavares (19 and PIR of 24). The Whites have one more friendly, on Saturday 17 against UCAM Murcia (7:30 pm CET; Realmadrid TV), before they begin the semi-finals of the Endesa Super Cup against Coosur Real Betis.
The clash began with both teams trying to edge ahead in the scoring. In the opening minutes, Madrid opened up a six-point lead as they dominated the rebounding and transitioned quickly into attack to overcome the Zalgiris defence. Sergio Rodríguez, Musa and Tavares led a 13-7 run in the fifth minute, with an alley oop from the point guard to set up the Cape Verde man. The Lithuanians soon fought back, with Dimsa and clinical finishing from the three-point line (5) to send the sides in at 20-26 after the first quarter.
Video.89-81: Madrid win Costa del Sol Tournament
A finely poised encounter
As the first half wore on, our team gradually addressed their defensive errors, with youngsters Ndiaye, Hugo González and Diagne performing outstandingly well. Despite the absence of Causeur, who was not on the bench today, Madrid still had their attacking threats from the exterior. Musa (13 points at the break) and Sergio Rodríguez, with a superb second quarter (10 of his 13 points), nullified Zalgiris’ lead and then sent the Whites four points ahead, it would have been more had it not been for the opposition’s offensive rebounding and precision from the three-point line, as the teams were tied at 43 going into the break.
The madridistas upped the pace after the re-start. Sergio Rodríguez grabbed the game by the scruff of its neck and Tavares was dominant at both ends in the paint. The point guard-center partnership certainly bodes well for the future. Academy player Hugo González also showed he has potential, by racking up six points and a three-point play from Cornelie sent the Whites on their way, as they began to find a balance between attack and defence. They prevented Zalgiris from scoring for almost five minutes, as Madrid increased their lead during the third quarter courtesy of a 18-3 scoring run to leave the score at 61-46 in the 34th minute of play.
Youth players make their mark
Zalgiris refused to be beaten and their best performer on the night, Dimsa, kept the team going as they looked for a way back into the game. They made a surge in the final stretch of the quarter but were countered by Madrid's youthful side with four home-grown players on the court. Jan, Bosnjanovic, Diagne and Ndiaye not only kept up the pace but restored the team's biggest lead to 16 points with eight minutes to go (77-61). All four showed exceptional poise for their age and prevented their opponents from coming within a hair's breadth of victory. Sergio Rodríguez, the standout performer, and Musa closed out the game and the trophy (89-81, min. 40).
89-Real Madrid: Duru (0), Sergio Rodríguez (16), Musa (19), Cornelie (9), Tavares (19) -cinco inicial- Causeur (-), Diagne (6), González (4), Jan (6), Bosnjakovic (5), Nowicki (-), Ndiaye (5).
81-Zalgiris Kaunas: Evans (16), Krivas (0), Smits (11), Lukosiunas (9), Ulanovas (2) -cinco inicial- Hayes (4), Kalnietis (9), Birutis (2), Kublickas (-), Dimsa (17), Cavanaugh (8), Lelevicius (3).