Balkan Botevgrad made basketball history on Wednesday night by winning the organization’s first Bulgarian League championship in 30 years. They defeated none other than league powerhouse Levski Lukoil Sofia 90-75 in Game 4 of the finals.
This was indeed a stunning surprise for followers of Bulgarian hoops. Levski Sofia ended the 2018-19 regular season with a dominant 22-2 record, head and shoulders above their closest competition in the standings. Balkan, to their credit, finished in third position with a respectable 16-8 slate.
This was a hard-earned title for Balkan, who swept Spartak 2-0 in the quarterfinals, but had to battle BC Beroe tooth and nail to emerge victorious 3-2 in the semifinals. It was a rockier road to the finals compared to the one taken by Levski Sofia, who cruised to the finals by sweeping their way for a then undefeated run in the playoffs.
On May 21st Levski drew first blood in the finals series with a 94-88 win. Balkan would bounce back in Game 2 with a 105-99 win. In Game 3, Balkan earned a decisive advantage after bagging an 81-77 win. Finally, in Game 4, they seized the day and followed through with the momentum they mustered and reverse-swept Levski for the title.
In Game 4 Balkan turned up the heat early and systematically built up their lead quarter by quarter. Thanks to the efforts of Brandon Brown and Dimitar Dimitrov, who led the team with 20 and 23 points, respectively, Balkan was to make club history and secure their first Bulgarian League (NBL) trophy.