It would reward the almost perfect season of the "Roca team", "scarecrow" of the championship according to the coach of Boulogne-Levallois Vincent Collet after finishing well at the top of the regular season and winning the Coupe de France at the end of April. Not to mention its participation in the first Euroleague Final Four in its history, finished in third place.
But one of the emerging forces in Europe does not yet reign over the France, despite means far superior to its opponents (20.7 million euros against 15.7 for Asvel and 7.3 for the Mets).
Beaten in the 2018, 2019 and 2022 finals, she knows, her coach Sasa Obradovic in the lead, not to have the right to make mistakes in these best-of-five series where she has home-court advantage and plays the first two games at home.
"Of course there will be disappointment (in case of defeat). We are favourites, we cannot hide," admitted the Serbian technician, whose future is up in the air according to several French and foreign media.
Fullback Elie Okobo and AS Monaco finished 3rd in the Euroleague Final Four in Kaunas, May 21, 2023 © PETRAS MALUKAS / AFP/Archives
"Every day, they announce my departure (in the press). With 80% wins (this season) including the Euroleague, what more can I do? I do my best, I just live from day to day," said Obradovic after qualifying for the final against Bourg-en-Bresse (3-0).
Boulogne-Levallois, second in the regular season, eliminated three-time defending champion Asvel in four sets to extend Wembanyama's farewell tour before continuing his career in the United States.
Elected at 19 years old best player of the championship after finishing top scorer, rebounder and blocker, the polymorphous interior of 2.21 m wants to offer, before being chosen first in the NBA draft on June 22, his first championship title to the Metropolitans 92 - their ancestor, PSG Racing, won the title in 1997.
The mere presence of the phenomenon, which has filled all the France rooms since the end of October, led the Metropolitans 92, pushed by the League, to relocate match 3 and the possible match 4 on the center court of Roland-Garros.
Victor Wembanyama with the Mets 92 against Monaco during the regular season in Levallois-Perret, December 11, 2022 © Emmanuel DUNAND / AFP/Archives
She also guided Boulogne-Levallois, quarter-finalist of the championship in 2022 before he arrived from Villeurbanne.
The Waters Turning Point
The Mets 92 were also able to count on the emergence of young winger Bilal Coulibaly (18), who should be drafted around the 15th pick on June 22, and the talents of manager and tactician of Collet, at the head of a squad mixing promising young shoots and more experienced players (Sy, Konaté, Thomas).
"We tell ourselves that this year, there is really something to do because we have an exceptional group, we get along well, on and off the pitch. In three years, I have never seen a group like this," said Lahou Konaté, captain of a squad that has reunited after the departure, mid-April, of Puerto Rican point guard Tremont Waters, "jealous", according to Collet to see Wembanyama take all the light.
Puerto Rican point guard Tremont Waters with his Boulogne-Levallois teammates travelling to Nancy, November 26, 2022 © Jean-Christophe Verhaegen / AFP/Archives
Opposite, the physics "Roca Team" has "everything you need in store", according to Collet, between its triggers behind (James, Loyd, Okobo) and its warriors inside (Brown, Moneke, Hall).
"We will have to be very good and especially as much as possible prevent them from being good," warned Collet, aware that, compared to Asvel in the semifinals, the level of difficulty rose "by one step, and even by several". That's good, Wembanyama has big legs.
The program of the finals
Game 1 Saturday (20:30) in Monaco
Game 2 Monday (20:30) in Monaco
Match 2 Thursday, June 15 (20:30) in Paris (Roland-Garros)
Match 4 Saturday, June 17 (20:30) in Paris (Roland-Garros)
Game 5 Tuesday 20 June (20:30) in Monaco
© 2023 AFP