The basketball pro Tibor Pleiß is 32 years old. On Saturday he won the Euroleague, the most important competition after the NBA, with Anadolu Efes for the second time in a row.
The killer instinct with which he made the decision in the 58:57 win over Real Madrid in the final of the Final Four in Belgrade he only claims to have developed in the past few days.
There was a plague of mosquitoes in the hotel room, the man from Cologne said after the game;
He killed around 25 of the insects on the room walls.
"A bloody affair."
Correspondent for sports in Berlin.
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It was rather tough in the final for the title.
Although Real only hit six of 33 long-range shots, the team led by up to nine points.
Then came the 2.18 meter long Pleiß.
Steal, rebound, blocked shot – the man from Cologne used his experience and once again proved his talent for throwing.
He scored ten of his 19 points in the last quarter, and he showed his versatility, scoring under the basket, from middle distance and from beyond the three-point line.
A good minute before the end, he increased the lead to three points when he typed in a rebound after a shot by the outstanding Vasilije Micic (23 points).
That was the win.
"I was completely free"
"Basketball can be so easy," Pleiß said happily: "Throwing the ball in the basket is my job.
I did that.” As in the Euroleague victory a year ago in his hometown of Cologne over FC Barcelona, Pleiss provided the impetus for victory.
Madrid tried to stop Istanbul point guards Micic and Shane Larkin (10 points), up to three players pounced on them when they went for the basket.
"They played the ball to me, I was completely free," stated Pleiß: "The rest is history." He contributed eight points and seven rebounds to the semi-final win over Olympiacos Piraeus with 77:74 points.
"Perfect game, perfect season," said coach Ergin Ataman about Pleiß and recalled that he was the outstanding player in the decisive fourth quarter-final game against Armani Milan with 25 points and six rebounds: "We have him to thank for this Final Four." Four years ago Ataman brought Pleiß to Istanbul.
"We believe in him and in our system he is very important."
The way he followed Larkin and Micic on their attack and used the ball that bounced off was great.
Pleiß thrived in Istanbul and on Saturday he once again thanked the coach for giving him a free hand in his variable game.
"Some coaches say stay under the basket, others say stay out," he said: "Coach Ataman gives me the freedom to shoot when I want.
He doesn't bench me if I don't score.
That improved my game.”
Switched to the Utah Jazz in the NBA in 2015 and only played twelve times, the narrow Pleiße has become one of the dominant players in Europe.
It would be a miracle if the talks with national coach Gordon Herbert, which Pleiß confirmed, would not result in the center returning to the national team.
Finally, in September, again in Cologne and then in Berlin, there is another European title to be won.Keywords: