The night that Virtus Bologna returned

By Bahadir Akgun/ [email protected]

BOLOGNA – It was a night that was awaited for a long time and it was a day that European basketball welcomed back officially an old and respected powerhouse. Bologna is not called “Basket city” for no reason in Italy and Virtus Bologna finally made it back to the big stage.

By winning the EuroCup final in a sold-out arena, the banner with the “Black V” will be part of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague again. It’s a historic moment since Virtus Bologna was the first champion of the modern EuroLeague era back in 2001.

And the Bologna fans were there, eager to celebrate their big return.

This team was built for that. Virtus managed to persuade coach Sergio Scariolo to return from the NBA to his home country, signed an Italian icon in Marco Belinelli, a global superstar in Milos Teodosic, and also didn’t hesitate to make a splash with two last-minute additions from CSKA, Daniel Hackett and Toko Shengelia.

As the Georgian forward admitted, it was EuroLeague or bust for them.

On the other side, the cinderella from Turkey, Frutti Extra Bursaspor, couldn’t complete a fairytale-like run. A club that was created just eight years ago managed to get to the final with three straight road wins in knockout games. They needed one more to win the trophy and make it to the EuroLeague.

They fell short, but EuroCup Coach of the Year Dusan Alimpijevic couldn’t be more proud of the outcome.

The same applied to the players and the fans that came from Turkey to Italy and shared an emotional moment after the end of the game.

However, this night belongs to Bologna, which is already making plans for next season’s EuroLeague, a process that started in the summer of 2019, when the team signed Milos Teodosic.

It was a long road that included even an unprecedented pandemic, it was a wild ride and finally, it has a happy end.


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