Mian, one of the most talked about, at the end of a whole match takes charge of a disoriented team still looking for an identity like the Old Wild West and leads them to victory against Chieti 76-68. Coach Boniciolli, especially in view of Wednesday’s derby with a very excited Cividale, will have to reflect a lot on the game his team played. Playing like this, his team (and we fear him) risk big.
Yes, Chieti, last in the standings and riding four defeats in a row, presented itself to Carnera like this: five offensive rebounds in seven minutes, second balls all steals, the Canadian Vrancic, nothing more brave, dominator.
It’s true, the Abruzzese will also be the best attack in the championship, but…A question of attitude, and the Apu didn’t put much into the field in the first quarter. Only awake: Fantoma, triple and then bench. One rookie in the game, the others off to bed: this way you’re not going anywhere. End of first period 22-10. An audience that (rightly) murmurs, because the last outing at the APU palace was the debacle with Pistoia. But at least that was a big match. In short, three days after the derby with Cividale, the Apu is more out of the game than it can be.
Lost balls, Pellegrino having a ball stolen that doesn’t even happen in mini-basketball, inconclusive attacks, coach Boniciolli shouts. It will be a coincidence: the two “benches” of Cesena put the APU back on track: Mussini and Antonutti. Baskets, two triples for the captain, and above all one thing. Call it what you want this thing, grit, heart, desire, you name it. Result 28-28 4′ from the break. With two well-made defenses and a little commitment worthy of a team that would like to dream big. True, Mian makes three fouls in an amen, Apu is far from enough, wastes worrying balls, defends in fits and starts, but puts his nose forward in the middle of the game also thanks to a good Esposito: 38-36. And as far as we have seen, it is dripping fat. Sherrill enough, Briscoe out of the match, Palumbo on the pitch for two minutes… Luckily the music of the “U2 friulani” cover band brings back some rhythm to the Carnera crowd (well done). They try to be Bono’s band, a bit like Apu try to be a really great team.
Applause for Silvestri, goalkeeper of Udinese. The first ones for the Apu are late in arriving because Boniciolli’s boys don’t turn around. Revisable attacks, the only point guard, Palumbo, punished on duty, like Cusin. Gaspardo? It’s the same as usual, when he runs they don’t mark him. But he only does it once. A. Is it all his fault? Is it possible that by now with the balls on the Christmas trees he is still a fish out of water? Mian, equal speech. He misses the triple from the corner of the possible +5 with the defender two meters away, and if only Briscoe and Sherrill, as in Cesena, find the way to the basket, Chieti stays there, solidly in the game, even if he shoots with 35% from the field . The Apu still gives a damned feeling of incompleteness against a generous opponent, but with evident limits of talent and staff, who leads 53-52 at the end of the third quarter.
It is clear to everyone: winning for the APU would only put the problems under the carpet a little, but it would be fundamental. And then, magically Mian, yes he, literally takes the team in hand and leads them to victory with 15 points in the final, with Sherrill who rejoices by returning to defense on the penultimate basket of the winger before the ball went inside. Just when he was on the edge of the abyss.
It’s first in the standings, it’s true. Yet the paradox is that, if we continue like this, we fear he won’t go where he’s been trying to go for three years.