The defeat at home, this Wednesday night (86-90), against Kataja, for matchday five of Group C of the FIBA European Cup, places the Dragons in a complicated position to qualify to the next stage of the competition, as they no longer depend on themselves to reach one of the first two places.
The only chance they have now is if Mornar Bar (second place in the group with eight points) loses against Kataja (already qualified, with nine) and FC Porto wins in Austria, against Kapfenberg Bulls. In that case, the advantage the blue and whites have in the direct confrontation with Mornar would prevail.
The Dragons were actually in the lead at the end of the first period, but the second ended up being deadly: the 16-32 partial left them 12 points behind at halftime, with a very difficult task ahead of the second half.
This happened because, on the other side of the court, there was a very organized team, with defensive intensity and aggressiveness in the attack. Almost all the opposing players showed great ease in the outside throw and the percentages show just that: 63.9% in two-point throws and incredible 52.4% in three-points. The blue and white percentage in three-points was actually positive (44.4%), but truth is that the defence proved to be unable to stop the Finnish team.
FC Porto dominated the fight for rebounds (34 rebounds against 21 of the opponents), but Kataja almost always showed higher pace, proving they are favourite in the group. After dropping behind by 18 points, the Dragons still recovered in the final period, and, with seven seconds to go, they were just three points behind (86-89). But it was too late to get back to the game, despite the good response in the last ten minutes (19-11 partial).
In the end, talking to Porto Canal, Moncho López preferred to look at the next match (November 30, 21h00) at the pavilion of Ovarense, as the match in Austria is only on December 6, at 18h00, mainland Portugal time: “Before the match for Europe, we have to think of other important objectives. Next, we have the qualification for the Hugo dos Santos Cup. We’ve lost matches for the Championship where we weren’t even competitive and we have to improve that.”
FC PORTO-KATAJA, 86-90
FIBA European Cup, Group C, Matchday 5
November 15, 2017
Dragão Caixa, Porto
Referees: Thomas Bissuel (France) and Goran Sljivic (Austria)
FC Porto: Marcus Gilbert (23), Pedro Bastos (7), Will Sheehey (12) Will Hanley (15) and Sasa Borovnjak (2)
Also played: Miguel Queiroz (11), Pedro Pinto, André Bessa (1), António Monteiro (13) and Miguel Miranda (2)
Coach: Moncho López
Kataja Basket: Seppälä (14), Perttu (6), Huolila (2), Wesley Saunders (15) and Damier Pitts (16)
Also played: Bejerano (15), Niemi (8) and Williams II (14)
Coach: Greg Gibson
At halftime: 40-52
Partials: 24-20, 16-32, 27-27, 19-11