BRATISLAVA, May 15 (Xinhua) -- The Spis Knights won the first match of the Slovak Basketball League playoff finals, defeating the Levice Patriots 87-81 on Saturday after Levice squandered a 17-point lead in the fourth period.
The improving pandemic situation in Slovakia allowed fans to attend for the first time in the 2020/21 season.
After starting to build a lead in the second period and stretching it to 17 points before the final outing, the Levice Patriots, who won the league's regular season, allowed the visitors to mount a magnificent comeback. The Knights completely erased the deficit and turned the first game of the best-of-five series around in the final moments.
"It's a big shame because we had the match firmly in our hands. The Spis Knights showed their quality, they didn't give up and improved the level of their game. They sank several difficult shots and I have to congratulate them on the victory," said Patriots' coach Michal Madzin after the home defeat.
After winning the Slovak Cup, the Spis Knights are going for a prestigious double. The first step towards their first championship title in the 70 years was a tough one.
"We didn't play well but we won. In the playoffs, the only important thing is victories. Levice was ahead for the most part, they did everything right during their preparation period. We managed to turn the tide thanks to our character and certain skills. If we intend to win this series, we have to get much better on the court," admitted the Knights' coach Teo Hojc after the final buzzer.
Levice's American guard Henri Wade-Chatman led the scoring with 25 points.