On 6th September, the final matches of the Men’s Championship of the Republic of Belarus were held in Minsk. Tsmoki has defeated Borisfen and Grodno-93 was stronger than Rubon.

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Rubon - Grodno-93

The draw for the “Final four” turned out to be very successful: the medals were awarded in both games on the last day of the tournament. Grodno and Rubon were competing for the bronze just like a year ago during the Basketball Cup of the Republic of Belarus.

The start of the game was shocking for Vitebsk: during the first 3 minutes, Ruslan Baidakov's team could not score and by the middle of the quarter they were losing 3-15. At the same time, Grodno-93 did not have a clear forward leader.

The head coach of Rubon Ruslan Baidakov was forced to take a time-out to influence the course of the match. And he did it: Vitebsk was able to reduce the effectiveness of the opponents' attack and cut the deficit by the end of the quarter.

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However, as in previous games, Rubon was behind in the score before the halftime again. The team began to make fewer turnovers, but the low shooting percentage (only 32.4%) helped their opponents Grodno team to break through – plus 17 points.

Probably, the players of the Grodno team believed in their victory too early. Over the next 20 minutes, they scored just 24 points, while Rubon was one step away from a 21-point comeback! Grodno led with a big breakaway and maintained a slow speed of play throughout the second half. However, in the last minutes of the game, Vitebsk made several successful attacks in a row and got close to the opponent.

Who knows how the "bronze" match would have ended if Rubon’s attacks were more accurate at the end of the match. In order to maintain the advantage the coaching staff of Grodno-93 led by Dzmitry Kuzmin needed to return the main players to the field. Nevertheless, the Grodno team took revenge on Rubon for last year's defeat in the Basketball Cup of the Republic of Belarus.

Head coach of Rubon Ruslan Baidakov:

– The main disadvantage of our team is the small amount of players. At times when there is a struggle on the court or we start to get closer to the opponent in the score, we simply have no one to replace the major players. It will be difficult for us to compete with the first three teams of the National Championship with the game we have shown. However, I am sure that this problem can be solved by signing at least one more basketball player who will have the qualities of a scorer.

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Head coach of Grodno-93 Dzmitry Kuzmin:

– Of course, the third place is far from what we would like to expect based on the results of this "Final four". However, winning a medal is still better than nothing. If not to talk about the awards, I am much more concerned about our attack that is not quite what I would like our team to have. There is still time before the start of the new National Championship. In addition, if we want to fight for at least silver medals in the future, we really need to make changes in our attack strategy.

Rubon - Grodno-93 - 60:67 (15-21, 11-22, 15-11, 19-13)

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Tsmoki-Minsk - Borisfen

In the final match of the "Final of four" Tsmoki met with Borisfen. The atmosphere in the RGUOR was suitable for the status of the game: the fan sectors were in the stands behind the benches of their teams and supported their favorite players throughout the whole meeting.

The first half was not very productive. At the start, Borisfen was often ineffective in the possession. However, Tsmoki did not use it and did not hurry to make a big difference in the score. In addition, 2 minutes before the end of the quarter, Mogilev even took the lead-11: 10.

This moment shook up the “Dragons” (Tsmoki) – they made 2 effective attacks in 30 seconds, taking the lead from the “Knights” (Borisfen) again. Leimanis and Rahozenka helped Tsmoki to win the first quarter, scoring 8 points in the end.

The teams did not force the pace, preferring offensive positions to fast attacks. This can also explain the low effectiveness in the first half – both finalists barely scored 60 points during the half of the meeting.

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The main hero of the game before the halftime was Maksim Salash: the forward of Tsmoki helped his team to make a dash 8-0 and with 13 points became the best scorer in the first 20 minutes. Borisfen failed to maintain equality in the score 25-37.

The key moment of the final was the beginning of the 3rd quarter; Tsmoki won it with a score of 12-0. Borisfen scored their first points five minutes after the halftime, but by this time the distance between the teams could be described by the word "gap" – 24 points difference!

Mogilev tried to speed up, but the lack of team actions did not help them in the end. Before the fourth quarter, Tsmoki ran away to +29, and the last 10 minutes became a mere formality.

The “Dragons” confidently won each of the three “Final of four” games and became the Champions of the Republic of Belarus for the 12th time in a row.

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Head coach of Tsmoki-Minsk Rostislav Vergun:

- First of all, I would like to thank all the participating teams for rivalry. I know how difficult it was to prepare for this tournament, given the lack of opportunity to conduct high-quality sparring. During these three days, we solved our problems, trying to improve from game to game. Therefore, it is quite natural that we managed to show the best basketball during the final game rather than during the start of the tournament. I will admit that it was extremely important for us to win and once again prove that Tsmoki is the leader of the Belarusian club basketball.

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Head coach of Borisfen Andrei Krivonos:

- I congratulate Tsmoki with another gold. We have something to strive for and work on. The final showed our weaknesses and gave us a strong charge for the new season. I also want to congratulate Borisfen fans on the resumption of basketball and on the silver medal of the National Championship 2019-2020. It is very nice that we have such a big family of fans, which joins us in other cities and worry about us. I still believe in my team and I have no doubt that in the new season we will still show what we are capable of.

Tsmoki-Minsk – Borisfen - 92:53 (18-14, 19-11, 31-14, 24-14)

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Individual awards

Maksim Salash, who scored 26 points and made 9 rebounds in the decisive match against Borisfen, was awarded as MVP.

According to the results of the tournament, the best players were:

Best guard – Dupree Mc Brayer (Borisfen);

Best forward – Maksim Salash (Tsmoki-Minsk);

Best center – Pavel Karasevich (Grodno-93);

Best young player – Uladzislau Mikulski (Borisfen);

Audience award – Uladzislau Mikulski (Borisfen);

MVP – Maxim Salash (Tsmoki-Minsk).

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MVP of the “Final four” Maksim Salash (Tsmoki-Minsk):

- It's great that basketball has resumed again after such a long pause. We all really missed the game and the emotions it gives us. I am glad that Tsmoki once again confirmed the reputation of the strongest Belarusian club. As for individual awards, of course, it is always a great pleasure to receive such prizes. I would like to thank my teammates and thank all the fans who supported us during these days.

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