The last seconds of a memorable play-off series were ticking down. Towers coach Pedro Calles (37) went to the handshake with his idol Aito Garcia Reneses (74) after the 73:85 (35:48) against Alba Berlin. And the fans in Wilhelmsburg clapped and drummed while standing.
Because of Corona, no spectators were allowed into the island park for 15 months. In the last game of the quarter-final series – and the whole season of Hamburg’s basketball players – 200 were allowed for the first time. “It was great,” Calles said. “Even if it was only 200, it felt like a full arena. I’m looking forward to meeting all the other fans next season. “
Co-Captain Max DiLeo also enjoyed the goose bumps atmosphere: “That gave us extra energy. When I warmed up, I jumped five centimeters higher. “
To be there, the loyal fans took on a lot: two PCR tests, contact tracking via app, mask, distance. Because the toilets were locked during breaks, bladder management was necessary. In addition, cheers were forbidden. “I had the feeling there was a tiger behind you who wanted to roar, but it mustn’t,” said Boss Marvin Willoughby. Instead, they drummed and made a noise with gossip cards.
But even the sixth man was of no use against the sovereign defending champion.
After a 14-0 run by Berlin at the end of the first quarter, the play-off was sealed. Zac Cuthbertson (17 points) made his best game for the battered and exhausted Hamburg team. In vain … “Against teams like Alba it is always difficult to come back after such a long deficit,” said Justus Hollatz. “But we did not give up and fought.”
Calles paid his players respect for this: “You can’t ask for more in terms of commitment and mentality. On the offensive, we ran behind throughout the series. Our throwing rate was not constant enough that we could not play out even more options and thus achieve a victory. “
Even if he didn’t feel like partying, the Spaniard drew a conciliatory conclusion to the season: “The job we did over the whole year was extremely positive. I came to work every day with a smile on my face. “
Does Josh Young come from Vechta?
The first BBL play-offs in Towers history are over. The training continues for a week on the back burner. Background: If Alba could not compete in the semifinals (from June 1st) due to a corona case, the Towers would move up!
If everything goes normally, final discussions and an initial examination with the doc will follow next week. Then the players jet home.
The plans for the coming season have long been running in the background (license without conditions). Center Maik Kotsar (24 / Estonia) was the first to renew, Justus Hollatz (20) still has a one-year contract. However, he is registered for the NBA draft in July.
Defense Minister Max DiLeo (28) and playmaker TJ Shorts (23 / USA) have priority for an extension. Josh Young (33) sat in the hall on Monday – he was Calles’ favorite player for two years with relegated Vechta. The Spaniard wanted to bring the builder with him last summer – but Rasta didn’t let him go back then …
There are also rumors about TJ Bray (28). The Ami moved to Bayern Munich after an outstanding 2018/19 season under Calles from the province. Most recently he played for the Greek record champions Panathinaikos Athens.