Here is our weekly TIB High Five (8-10 January)
Due to the coronacrisis, budgets went down this season in het EuroMillions Basketball League. As a consequence, youngsters get more minutes than ever before. The best youngsters of this early season are Nakic, Djurisic, Sylla, Bleijenbergh, D’Espallier but none of them made it to our ‘team of the week’ this time. No, this weekend it was the time for the veterans to shine. Versus a soft and uninspired Mechelen the 30 year old Alexandre Libert recorded 21 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 steals. Especially during difficult moments in the game, Libert steps up, leads by example and shows all those young players around him what it takes to win basketball games.
Wen “Boss” Mukubu
Mukubu is in the same situation in Limburg as Libert is in Charleroi. Limburg did something exceptional in their game against Leuven, six youngsters coming out of their own youth program combined for 72 minutes. But just like in Charleroi, in Limburg too it was a veteran who was early in the game setting the tone. At the age of 37, Mukubu (16 points and 7 rebounds) is not yet showing signs of slowing down.
Has this ever happened before, that Gjergja has three players who almost played an entire game? Schwartz, Mwema and Gillet had to do this against Antwerp Giants on Saturday. It was very logical that they all played 36 minutes, logical because when Oostende drove on the E40 and E17 to Antwerp Friday afternoon, there was quite a lot of space left in the bus. Buysse, Troisfontaines, Nakic, Sylla and Gilmore all stayed at the seaside, they were all injured. So Gjergja couldn’t do his usual trick: keeping everyone fresh by playing the game with twelve guys and no one exceeding a 24 minute limit. No, he couldn’t do that and it went almost wrong when Antwerp went on a 15-0 run in the second half. In the final minute Bleijenbergh scored a three that brought Antwerp back to one, but Mwema, yes, he’s a veteran too, answered with a decisive three ball of his own.
Mwema won the game, but Oostende’s best player was Pierre-Antoine Gillet. In the first half Oostende was killing the Giants in the rebound. The Belgian Lion took five offensive boards. He played great at both sides of the floor in his first official game back after an injury and went off for a double-double: 17 points and 10 rebounds. It’s such a good thing for the EMBL that Gillet returned to his home land after he has spent one successful season in France and two years in the most beautiful European basketball league: the Liga Endesa.
Another player who took his foreign experience back to Belgium is Ivan Maras. He is definitely one of the most experienced players in our league, having played in Montenegro, Serbia, Belarus, Iran, Greece, Bahrain, Cyprus, France, … And he was the architect of the victory by Okapi in that magnificent arena Palais 12 in Brussels. Maras finished the game with 25 points and 10 rebounds.