Coach James Weldon gives his thoughts on Dragan Bender +++ Sarunas Jasikevičius retires, joins Zalgiris in coaching role +++ Vintage Drazen Petrovic jersey up for auction +++ Ireland announce select squad for Luxembourg friendlies +++ We really need you to nominate beers +++ Mykhailiuk operating almost under cover +++ Nando de Colo has the best location for a basketball camp +++ Ireland end famines with two slices of Danish bacon +++ Former Galatasaray baller Jamont Gordon talks about the road to recovery +++ FIBA Europe Under 20 final highlights and top plays +++

National Cups: Real Madrid ends 19 years of futility; Beşiktaş, Chalon take first-ever titles; Montepaschi Siena continues dominance

Congratulations go out from BallinEurope today to a quartet of national Cup holders in Real Madrid, Beşiktaş Milangaz, Chalon-sur-Saone and Montepaschi Siena. The former three victories are set to be particularly noted in club annals: Real ended a 19-year drought while Beşiktaş and Chalon both bagged their first-ever championships in their respective national cup tournaments after each were runners-up in 2011. Below run game wraps and highlight clips.

In Spain, Madrid won their first Spanish Cup since Arvydas Sabonis was on the team with a convincing 92-74 victory over FC Barcelona on the Blaugrana home court. Twenty-three was the magic number for Los Blancos, as Madrid took its 23rd such title behind 23 points from tournament MVP Sergio Llull. An extrapolation from the Liga Endesa’s official site goes something like the following.

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Euroleague Final Four flashback: CSKA Moscow vs. Real Madrid, 1969

The city of Barcelona has hosted the Euroleague Final Four three times before. In 1969, 1998 and 2003; for true devotees of European basketball, the memories of these three events will be nearly as tangible as this week’s on-court action. For those who don’t (or are too young to) remember, BallinEurope this week presents looks at the competitions of Final Four past as supplied by the big league’s historians.

First, let’s go back to those halcyon times of ‘69. Then known as the European Cup, the tournament finale featured a final match in Cold War style, i.e. involving a last-second controversy, pitting Real Madrid against CSKA Moscow and starring the likes of Clifford Luyk and Vladimir Andreev…

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