The start of Telenet Giants Antwerp was nevertheless good thanks to a frisky Niels Van Den Eynde. Van Den Eynde scored 12 points and led the Sinjoren to a maximum 17-5 bonus.
However, the Giants forgot to push, were too lax in defense and suffered stupid ball losses. Bergen did not need more to unpack with a remonte. Bergen found the connection through the Dutch center Emmanuel Nzekwesi: 23-19. Marcus Tyus dropped three pointers and at 27-29 Bergen took the lead for the first time. The Hainaut dominated the second slide and went into halftime with a 37-39 bonus.
Bergen also came out of the dressing room very sharp. Muhamed Pasalic, Marcus Tyus and of course Emmanuel Nzekwesi pushed through with a 0-11 to 37-50. Coach Vedran Bosnic’s team played with passion, the Giants were unresponsive and above all too nervous.
Via top scorer Niels Van Den Eynde there was a shy Antwerp reaction after 45-57: 50-59. However, the Sinjoren lacked inspiration and especially creativity in offense. A clever Bergen in the final quarter after 59-69 pushed through to a deserved victory and qualification.
“We have failed”
Jean-Marc Mwema, who was struggling with a foot injury and was only able to play after an injection, was tough in his analysis. “We have failed. After a good start we were mainly too static. Our strength is fast basketball and that didn’t come out today. Yes, we are now being picked up in the BNXT Play-offs. That is not a consolation prize as the winner will still receive a European ticket,” said captain Jean-Marc Mwema.
“I am proud of my selection. They showed a lot of character and again limited the Giants to 64 points,” said coach Vedran Bosnic van Bergen.
On Wednesday 11 May, Telenet Giants Antwerp will play the first game of the BNXT Play-offs in Brussels. The return is on Sunday 15 May in the Lotto Arena. The BNXT Play-offs are contested with a home and return leg formula.
Telenet Giants Antwerp-Bergen 64-74
TELENET GIANTS ANTWERP: Smout 3, Tiby 3, Van Den Eynde 21, D’Espallier 0, N. De Ridder 6, Rogiers 8, Hands 4, Krutwig 4, Mwema 5, Donkor 10
MOUNTAINS: Cage 1, Mintogo 0, Mortant 7, Nzekwesi 23, Pasalic 12, Penava 4, Tyus 18, Legrand , Henson 10
QUARTZ: 23-19, 14-20, 13-22, 14-13