Caledonia Gladiators faced a decisive clash against Surne Basket Bilbao, hoping for a victory and favourable outcomes elsewhere in the group to advance in their inaugural European campaign. However, the strong Liga ACB side took the eventual 78-59 victory, knocking Caledonia from the competition.
The opening quarter witnessed staunch defence from both sides. Bilbao capitalized on the Gladiators’ turnovers, establishing a lead. Despite the intense defence, a careless turnover allowed Bilbao to close the period with a dominant 16-8 lead.
Gladiators fought back in the second quarter, narrowing the gap to a single possession at one point. However, Bilbao maintained control, heading into halftime with a 34-26 lead. Lukas Palyza led Gladiators with 11 points.
Traded baskets defined the third quarter. Gladiators, energized by home support, managed a brief momentum shift with three-pointers. Bilbao responded and closed the quarter with a 54-44 advantage.
Bilbao dominated the final quarter, securing a decisive 78-59 victory and their sixth win out of six. Despite a commendable 3-3 record, the Gladiators exit the FIBA Europe Cup. Coach Gareth Murray praised the team’s effort, acknowledging the challenging competition.
Reflecting on the game, Coach Gareth Murray and MVP Lukas Palyza expressed pride in the Gladiators’ unexpected achievements, both mentioning that “no one expected us to win a game”. The focus now shifts to the British Basketball League, with a doubleheader against Cheshire Phoenix – get your tickets for the home leg on Friday HERE.