A fiery first period − twenty-three points ahead at the break (54-31) − was enough for Paris Basketball to pocket the victory at home against Bourg-en-Bresse, Tuesday April 9, during the first round of the Eurocup final, the second European competition behind the Euroleague.

The capital club made it halfway to the title by winning in the end 77-64 at the Adidas Arena, Porte de la Chapelle. A victory on Friday in Ain in this second 100% French final in European Cups would give the Parisians the second title in their history, also the second of the season after the Leaders Cup won in mid-February. As well as the long-awaited automatic qualification for the next Euroleague.

In the event of a resurgence of the Secular Youth of Bourg-en-Bresse (JL Bourg), the decisive support match will be played on Monday, in the Parisian venue which was sold out on Tuesday (8,000 spectators), a privilege acquired by finishing with the best record of the regular season (17 wins for one loss).

“We weren’t ready.”

But if the Bressans appear, in front of their Ekinox audience, as apathetic as Tuesday in the first half, there will certainly be no “beautiful”. “Did we still have the lead against Besiktas [in the semi-finals, last Wednesday]?, asked Bressan coach Frédéric Fauthoux. Possible. We knew they were pushing, hanging on, playing to the limits and even warned, we weren’t ready. »

Irresistible since the end of January, the Parisian team coached since this season by the Finn Tuomas Iisalo did not need, as usual, to continue to press the accelerator in the second half to finally make their opponent bend and chain a 18th victory in a row in all competitions.

Despite a very slight improvement at the start of the second quarter (25-17), Fauthoux’s team lacked long-distance skill (18%) and was muddled in attack (11 lost balls) before the break. Above all, it was far too permeable in defense against the penetrations of Nadir Hifi (10 points at half-time, 13 in total) and TJ Shorts (11 pts, 15 in the end), the dynamiting Parisian duo. And powerless in the face of the rapid passing game which often gave open shots to Chilean gunner Sebastian Herrera (8 pts at 2/2 behind the arc at half-time, 11 in the end).

Aggression found in the second half

Bourg-en-Bresse tightened up after the break, conceding fewer points throughout the second half than in the second quarter (31) after finally delivering a real European match, contested and sometimes electric.

Witness to the newfound aggressiveness of JL Bourg, this angry “2 1” − successful basket and free throw on the same action − from the young Zaccharie Risacher (35th, 71-52), in the tough for almost two months but a the only ones to survive the entire match on Tuesday (11 points), with American leader Jequan Lewis (10 points).

“We had a great first half, incredible in defense and intensity, and of a high level in attack. In the second, Bourg started to change defense, causing us some problems, and we were less focused. This gives us good indications for the second match,” reacted Tuomas Iisalo.

At least with this second period the Bressans, back to 13 lengths with a minute to go (74-61), will leave home with their heads a little higher before a second round which they approach with their backs to the wall.

“We needed two wins this morning, we still have two more to go. In the second half we saw how they should be played, I remain convinced that we can get two victories against Paris,” said Frédéric Fauthoux.