After the big 83-60 win against AEK Larnaca in Europe Cup action that upped the Fraport Skyliners record in that competition to 13-0 which was another simple day at the office where the 2004 Beko BBL champion once again had transformed head coach Gordon Herbert´s scouting report from paper on to the court with a dynamic masterful performance, two of the club´s key performers Jordan Theodore and Philip Scrubb were stretching on the sidelines. Two guys side by side while Theodore was yapping around yet still being focused on his legs while Scrubb like usual was the silent, but observant rookie taking everything in and seemingly taking mental notes about this new experience for his vast memory bank. Both guys winning journeys in their short career´s have been about as different as you can ever find comparable to a Michael Jordan who won his share of titles and Karl the mail man Malone who played 20 seasons and never won a title and came to the Los Angeles Lakers a few years too late otherwise he would have got that ring. With Theodore and Scrubb as odd as the comparison sounds is a bit similar not in how many seasons they have played, but in title talk. Theodore who is the pride and joy of Engelwood, New Jersey, didn´t win anything at Seton Hall and played his first three professional season´s on losing teams in Turkey with Antalya and Mersin and last season in France with Bourg, while Scrubb at the age of 23 already has the distinction of being the greatest Canadian college player of all time as he won 5 CIS and 3 OUA tournaments while racking up 3 player of the year titles, One MVP and one rookie of the year. This is a huge contrast in the career´s of both players, but with the combination of the winning mentality and experience of knowing how to win by Scrubb and the undying will and need to win by Theodore, the Fraport Skyliners had two very special figures entering the game against 8 time Beko BBL champion Alba Berlin ready to do their magic and help carry their team into the 2016 Beko BBL cup final in Munich, but it was Alba Berlin guard Jordan Taylor that stole the show hitting a huge shot at the end with 1,1 seconds to play propelling Alba Berlin into the 2016 Beko BBL cup final 79-76. After the loss, Scrubb was his usual emotionless self, while one could see the sadness of Theodore painting a clown´s expression after nobody laughed at his latest stunt. Theodore wanted to win badly, but will have to wait for a new chance. “Phill, I and the whole team wanted to win this game very badly. I was a little up and down in the first half. I was nervous, because this was the first meaningful game that I had been in as a professional. I was forcing too much and not letting the game come to me. In the second half, I was calmer and hit some shots. I was so hyped for this game, because I love the big stage. I feel like I have to prove myself new every game, because I always want to be the best”, stressed Jordan Theodore. After the contest, it was the two Jordan´s who were in deep conversation on the sideline as Taylor was more smiles, while Theodore at times seemed to be somewhere else in thought. Possibly that last shot will be in his mind for a long time? “I grew up playing with Jordan Theodore and all the other gaucho´s in New York. It is always nice to see a familiar face and I was just fortunate to make some shots. I was happy to find a rhythm after my long injury and hope it will carry into the next games”, stressed Wisconsin Badger Jordan Taylor. Frankfurt made a courageous come back in the second half, but their unsatisfactory second quarter got them in an early rut putting Alba Berlin in the driver´s seat. “The second quarter was hard on us. We tend to have bad stretches in games, but you can´t do that against big teams. We have to play at a high effort for 40 minutes”, warned Jordan Theodore.
The Fraport Skyliners entered the game complete as Heidelberg native Danilo Barthel was back in the lineup after missing many weeks. Alba Berlin continued to be without 2 time NCAA champion with UCONN Nils Giffey and American Mitchell Watt. Both teams started off with a high intensity, but Alba Berlin broke the game open early going on a 6-2 lead as American Jordan Taylor connected on a pull up Jumper, Bosnian Elmeden Kikanovic made a left handed lay in getting perfectly fed by Taylor and then hit a 15 footer while ex Auburn guard Quantez Robertson nailed a pull up jumper against the Alba Berlin zone. The Fraport Skyliners then inserted 5 time CIS winner with Carleton Philipp Scrubb who brought energy leading Frankfurt on a 8-0 run to give them the 10-6 advantage. In the run, it was German national player Johannes Voigtmann scoring inside getting fed by Theodore, Robertson dropped a three pointer while Scrubb also connected from outside. Despite this instant offensive production, Frankfurt had to work extra hard for every shot. Frankfurt continued to play hard and control the momentum closing out the first quarter on a 7-4 run to lead 17-10. Kikanovic continued to hit shots, while Frankfurt got valuable production from the bench from 2015 University games silver medalist Konstantin Klein sneaking inside for two and German national player Danilo Barthel tipping in his own miss. “Frankfurt was playing very good defense and scrambling on the ball while Scrubb showed he can shoot and Tez was just doing everything it takes to win”, stressed ex Fraport Skyliner Justin Cobbs. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 35% from the field and 33% from outside while Alba Berlin was shooting 25% from the field and 0% from outside. Alba Berlin had the 13-11 rebound edge and three turnovers while Frankfurt had two turnovers.
In the second quarter came the giant turning point as 2009 Cup winner Alba Berlin exploded going on a 15-2 run to retake the lead at 25-19. Alba Berlin finally unleashed their snippers as they nailed four three pointers. It was versatile Serb Dragan Milosavlevic that dropped two consecutive three pointers which was continued by ex BG Goettingen guard Akeem Vargas and American Will Cherry. The Fraport Skyliners had lost their rhythm while Alba Berlin was playing smart basketball, rebounding better and stepping up their defense which led to nasty turnovers for Frankfurt. Frankfurt did a good job staying on the door step of Alba Berlin and not letting them go on another run, but continued to keep pace. Theodore picked his spots and found Florida native Mike Morrison for the hard two handed dunk and Barthel made a tip in off a Theodore miss as Alba Berlin led 31-26. However Alba Berlin kept up their consistent offense and as soon as Frankfurt inched closer, they would hit a big shot. Croatian forward Kresimir Loncar scored in bunches with a trey and lay in as Alba Berlin led 40-28. Frankfurt then went on a 7-0 run to cut the Alba Berlin lead to 40-35 as Theodore did what he does best driving inside and finishing high off the glass and nailing free throws. Voigtmann also scored inside. However the guy that started the second quarter frenzy also ended the frenzy going into halftime as Milosavljevic hit his third three pointer of the quarter as Alba Berlin led 43-35 at the break. “Frankfurt struggled to score and couldn´t get stops. Alba was forced to make tough shots”, added ex California(NCAA) guard Justin Cobbs. Alba Berlin was shooting 46% from the field and 43% from the three point line while Frankfurt was shooting 35% from the field and 18% from the three point line. Alba Berlin had the 19-17 rebound edge and five turnovers while Frankfurt had six turnovers.
In the third quarter, Alba Berlin continued to execute very well on offense not allowing the Fraport Skyliners any closer than three points. Milosavljevic started off the third quarter with a lay in, but Frankfurt then got consecutive scores going on a 6-1 run to cut the Alba Berlin lead to 45-41. Robertson scored in bunches on a lay in and on transition and Scrubb made free throws. After Voigtmann nailed a 20 footer, it was Milosavljevic and Theodore that offered a scoring duel as both traded buckets with back to back three pointers and then the Serb made like a quick guard getting in the passing lane and going coast to coast ramming home a one handed dunk and Theodore collected the back door pass from Barthel for the easy lay in, but Alba Berlin still led 53-48. After ex Fraport Skyliner Alex King dropped a high rainbow for the 56-49 Alba Berlin advantage, Frankfurt broke out on a 6-2 run to cut the Alba Berlin lead to 58-55. Good defense led to better offense as Barthel blocked Taylor leading to Robertson free throws and 2010 Eurochallenge winner with BG Goettingen John Little hit a three pointer. However American Rob Lowery hit a wild three in front of the Frankfurt bench and Robertson giving Alba Belrlin the 61-55 lead. Alba Berlin led 62-56 after 30 minutes. “We did good things on defense with collapsing, but also had some break downs. Milosavljevic took over on offense and we did a good job withstanding their runs”, stressed Jordan Taylor. “We got our energy up again. We picked up our defense and rebounded better. We pushed the ball and got easy buckets”, stressed Canadian Philip Scrubb. Alba Berlin was shooting 43% from the field and 50% from the parking lot while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 43% from the field and 29% from the parking lot. Alba Berlin led the rebound battle 27-24 and had five turnovers while Frankfurt had eight turnovers.
The fourth quarter proved to be a fight to the finish as Alba Berlin could never totally close the door on the Fraport Skyliners as usual fighting until the end. The Fraport Skyliners started off the fourth quarter with pure energy in the big hands of ex George Mason center Mike Morison who blocked Taylor trying to score inside and then ran the floor like a guard catching an Aaron Doornekamp touch down pass for the lay in. Alba Berlin may only have scored in the paint 18 times compared to the 30 Frankfurt points, but whenever they needed big points inside they could count on their big man rotation as Kikanovic and ex Telekom Baskets Bonn center Jonas Wolfarth-Bottermann connected to up the Alba Berlin lead to 66-58. Frankfurt seems to mostly always be able to block out any adversary and rebound and did going on a timely 7-2 run to get right back into the ball game trailing Alba Berlin only 68-65. In the run, it was Theodore who hit a trey and squeezed inside for a lay in. Loncar then made a big bucket using his strength inside to score, but Frankfurt kept believing continuing to chip away fighting as Voigtmann was aggressive on the offensive glass tipping home a Robertson shot and Theodore went coast to coast for the lay in as Frankfurt trailed only 70-69. After a Cherry free throw, Frankfurt as was so often the case on the evening had to work hard for the perfect shot and were patient finding Voigtmann all alone at the top the key as he nailed a long shot that gave Frankfurt the lead again at 72-71. It was time for the Jordan´s to take off and give an exhibition as Taylor nailed a three giving Alba Berlin the lead again 74-72. After Cherry and Barthel free throws, it was the other Jordan Theodore nailing a trey to tie the game at 76-76. With 12 seconds to play, It was Jordan Taylor that was Mr money ball hitting a very tough shot from the top of the key giving Alba Berlin the 79-76 advantage with 1,1 seconds to play. “One could always say there was some luck involved, but both Jordan´s showed great presentations. It was amazing how Jordan Taylor hit those big shots after being out so long. He was amazing in various ways”, added Alba Berlin head coach Sasa Obradovic. With 1,1 seconds to play, Frankfurt got Theodore the ball and he dribbled once to his left while being covered, but still unleashed a shot, but it feel short dashing their dreams of keeping their streak alive of a possible third club title. “All I needed was one more second on the clock and I believe I would of made it”, said a frustrated Jordan Theodore. “It is no accident that Frankfurt were in the position that they were. You can never get comfortable with a team like Frankfurt that has guys like Theodore and Robertson that can make plays. They have a very good game. Jordan will really want to beat Bamberg for third place. It should be a good game”, warned Jordan Taylor. “We trusted our defense to get stops. We wanted to buckle down at the end and not foul. They hit the big shot that counted”, said Philip Scrubb. Alba Berlin was led by Dragan Milosavlevic with 21 points and nine rebounds. Elmedin Kikanovic scored 17 points and Jordan Taylor added 12 points and eight assists. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Jordan Theodore with 22 points. Quantez Robertson added 13 points and nine rebounds while Johannes Voigtmann had 12 points. Danilo Barthel mustered 10 points. Alba Berlin shot 42% from the field and 46% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners shot 44% from the field and 32% from outside. Frankfurt won the rebound duel 36-33, but had 10 turnovers while Alba Berlin had seven turnovers. Alba Berln now meet FC Bayern Munich in the final while the Fraport Skyliners tangle with the Brose Baskets Bamberg at 12 pm. “The earliest that I played at 12 was when I was in high school. It will be a tough game against a Euroleague team. We don´t want to roll over, but want to win”, warned Philip Scrubb.