Fener sweeps playoff series against Karşıyaka to become first finalist
Fenerbahçe Ülker defeated Pınar Karşıyaka 74-67 on the road to bring the semifinal series to 3-0 in as many games and become the first finalist in the men's Beko Turkish Basketball League (TBL) championship playoffs on Tuesday night.

The İstanbul club has now accomplished the same feat for the second year running. In their last appearance in the finals, Fenerbahçe played against its archrival Galatasaray and clinched the trophy. This season's final might be the carbon copy of the 2010-2011 season as Galatasaray Liv Hospital and Banvit are pitted against each other in the other semifinal series, and Galatasaray is keeping its hopes up since it has home court advantage.

Fenerbahçe coach Zeljko Obradovic said in his post-game remarks that his team will have to work for a long period for the final. He noted that they don't have the luxury to relax because they will be up against either Banvit, which dominated the domestic season, or a strong Galatasaray.

Turkish Cup winners Pınar Karşıyaka bowed out of the playoff series in the semifinals as it did last season.

Karşıyaka coach Ufuk Sarıca was upset, saying they would like to play in the finals after a 27-year hiatus, but they failed. He added that his players should be given credit for putting up a good fight against a big-budget team.

On Tuesday night, Croatian small forward Bojan Bogdanovic paced the winners with 19 points and Linas Kleiza added 14. Ömer Onan and Emir Preldzic also reach double digits, with each scoring 12 points. Uruguayan center Esteban Batista's 18 points could not save Karşıyaka from defeat and their eventual ejection from the playoffs.

Coach Obradovic's Fenerbahçe did not have a strong start into the game. The İstanbul club was able to produce only two points in the first five minutes as the hosts took a 16-2 lead. The guests later achieved a 12-0 run with points from Bogdanovic and Preldzic and tied the score 21-21 in the first quarter. Fenerbahçe started off the second quarter with back-to-back three pointers by Onan and Nemanja Bjelica. Despite losing the advantage to Karşıyaka at one point, the guests had managed a 36-33 lead at halftime.

The hosts tried to survive with Batista and Mutlu Demir scoring in the next quarter but it was not possible without stopping the Bogdanovic-Onan duo, and Fenerbahçe was up 55-50 going into the final quarter. The guests obtained a double-digit advantage again in the fourth quarter. Karşıyaka later reduced the margin but it was too little too late as Obradovic's men won the match 74-67 to claim the ticket to the final.

Obradovic said after the match that his team started off the match with low concentration, but the players had a good end to the game. He congratulated his players for their performance in such tough matchups and Pınar Karşıyaka for having a successful season and playing a good game.

Karşıyaka's Sarıca said his side performed well in defense, unlike the first two games of the series. "We had an extraordinary season. We were in the semifinals with three Euroleague rivals but we never ran out of ambition. More can be done; a slow growth is necessary," he said.

Fenerbahçe won the first two games 88-69 and 94-83 in front of its home crowd. Before meeting Pınar Karşıyaka, the İstanbul team eliminated Uşak Sportif in the quarterfinals.

(Cihan/Today's Zaman) CİHAN
Last Modified: 2014-05-28 15:00:01
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