The semi-finals of the VTB League were officially decided on Saturday night (11/05). Zenit St Petersburg clinched the final spot.
Zenit edged Lokomotiv Kuban at home in Game 4 of the VTB League Quarterfinals (87-85). Consequently, they won the series 3-1 and qualified for the semi-finals.
It was a late thriller in St Petersburg, which was decided in the final seconds. Evgeny Valiev deflected Dmitry Kulagin’s pass and the hosts went on to seal the deal and earn the victory.
Marko Simonovic had a game-high 22 points for the winners. On the other hand, Vitaly Fridzon posted 21 points for the losing squad, while Kulagin added 18 points and six assists.
CSKA Moscow, Zenit, Khimki, and UNICS Kazan advanced to the semi-finals, which will start on May 22 and May 23.
In the first semi-final, CSKA will battle Zenit St Petersburg. In the second one, UNICS Kazan will face Khimki.
Aside from Zenit (3-1), the other three teams swept their respective series and reached the semi-finals (3-0).
The winner of the VTB League will secure its place to the 2019/20 EuroLeague. CSKA Moscow is under a 10-year contract with the competition.
Consequently, they have a guaranteed place in next season’s competition. If the Muscovites qualify for the Finals, then the finalist will also play in the EuroLeague next season.
With that mind, Zenit, UNICS Kazan and Khimki will put everything on the line in order to play in the Finals. They want to close the season in a successful way. This will happen only if they claim the title.
On the other hand, it is a matter of prestige for CSKA Moscow, which wants to win the VTB League title for another season.
The Muscovites are getting ready for the EuroLeague Final Four semi-final against Real Madrid this Friday (17/05).