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Rodriguez was a monster, the team effort was amazing: another epic comeback for Olimpia, 78-70


Another legendary comeback needs to be registered in Olimpia’s history. Real Madrid, riding a 14-game winning streak in this head-to-head battle, came in Milan, built a solid 14-point lead, making three after three, looking totally in control. But Olimpia, short of Kevin Punter and Vlado Micov, down by another key player when Malcolm Delaney landed on Carlos Alocen’s foot and had to leave the game after a few minutes with a sprained left ankle, kept defending the paint, staying in the game and came back in the second half, winning 78-70.

The second half itself was an entire different story. Olimpia hit the ground running, held Real Madrid scoreless for more than three minutes and took the lead for the first time on a Rodriguez huge three. In the fourth quarter, with Gigi Datome using his fadeaway, Shavon Shields his contagious energy on his way to score 19 points to go along seven rebounds, Olimpia built an impressive, commanding nine-point lead. Real Madrid responded with a 8-0 run, but Shields with a huge three extended the margin to four and a couple of possessions later, off a Kyle Hines offensive rebound, Riccardo Moraschini made the three that closed the deal for Olimpia. Sergio Rodriguez, playing against his former team and many friends, had a night for the ages. He scored 25 points, one shy of his personal-best, had a 37 of personal index, his career-high, accumulated seven assists and was mistake-free from the line.

He was a monster. He started the game as a facilitator, involving Kaleb Tarczewski insed game through timely pick and rolls, then with the team struggling to hit any shot and Delaney out, he simply took over. He scored 12 points in the third quarter, six more in the last five minutes. “The guys were amazing in the second half, give them all the credit, they should be proud of what they accomplished tonight – Coach Ettore Messina said – They took responsibility offensively, they had a high-intensity game defensively. Early we were a little shy, unsecure, especially after losing Malcolm Delaney and the added depression. In the second half we were much better at clogging the middle and recover faster over their shooters. At this level it is a matter of fractions.”