Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Petteri Koponen Watch: Ho You Fat edition

Confused by the extended silence of the Petteri Koponen Watch? Me too! Luckily H.T. has recently gotten back to doing what made him the international blogebrity that he is. The latest on The Finnagler!

Yeah, I know it has been quiet in the Petteri Koponen frontier these past two weeks, but I have been in a rather uncomfortable situation lately. Instead of spending my days sniffing glue, playing Backgammon and writing basketball stories for underground sports blogs (that sounds a lot better than "obscure"-Ed), I have actually been WORKING. I swear that unfortunate events such as this won't keep you from getting your weekly does of Petteri and I try to minimize the side effects with this update.

After losing the Italian Cup final against Montepaschi Siena, 
Virtus Bologna smacked Turkish League leading Galatasaray 93-77 (46-41) in their home court and managed to snatch a 65-64 away victory against Air Avellino. It was a bit alarming to see Koponen out of the starting line-up for the first time since early December. Petteri had five points and two rebounds in 15 minutes against Galatasaray and one rebound and one assist in only five minutes against Air Avellino.

The first week of March was a sad one for Virtus. Although Virtus took a 24-14 first quarter lead in FIBA EuroChallenge game against German team 
EWE Baskets Oldenburg, those pesky Germans dominated the final quarter and cruised to 73-64 win, dropping Virtus to second place of EuroChallenge Cup's Group J. Petteri kept collecting bench splinters and played only six minutes (two rebounds, on foul) against Oldenburg.

In the next game Bologna travelled to play against Solsonica Rieti, currently the dead last team in Serie A. Petteri was entered back to the starting line-up, but the game was by far the worst Virtus has played this season. Rieti smacked the Bolognese right out of town, winning 80-55 (37-30) and dropping Virtus to fourth spot in 
Serie A. Petteri played 19 points, but only finished with six points (3pt shots 1/6), one steal and two turnovers.

This Tuesday, Bologna seemed to overcome their difficulties as they traveled to Ukraine to play against Ukrainian 
Superleague leading BC Kyiv in the final game of FIBA EuroChallenge Cup regular season. Virtus played impressive defence and smothered Kyiv 69-57 (34-26), earning a home court advantage for the upcoming EuroChallenge Cup quarterfinals. Petteri played 23 minutes against Kyiv and finished with 15 points (3pt 4-8), one rebound and one steal. Virtus coach Matteo Boniciolli praised Petteri in basketcentral.it, stating: "With Petteri playing in this level, it's hard for anyone to beat us."

Virtus will meet German Bundesleague team 
Telekom Baskets Bonn in the best-of-three playoff series tipping off next week. Bonn is a pretty typical German team, with seven players getting most minutes are born in the U.S. (Ken Johnson, E.J. Rowland, Winsome Frazier and Brandon Bowman), to name a few. Here are the four quarterfinal match-ups in EuroChallenge Cup:

BC Triumph (Russia) - Ural Great (Russia)
Telekom Baskets Bonn (Germany) - Virtus Bologna (Italy)
Proteas EKA AEL (Cyprus) - EclipseJet MyGuide (Netherlands)
Cholet Basket (France) - BC Kyiv (Ukraine)

I'm waiting for Virtus to meet 
Cholet Basket in the upcoming rounds, because it would be kind of a dream come true to see Petteri play against this fellow.

More to come!

-H.T