Hippo checks in with his latest report on Petteri Koponen for all you Finnaglerphile. The news is good, and Koponen continues to show a knack for making clutch plays. Enjoy.
P.S. Fred Joooooones!
Italian Serie A tipped off this past weekend. While two of Virtus Bologna's last year's starters - Sharrod Ford and Alex Righetti - are still negotiating their contracts, the rest of the crew was busy in Sunday's 76-68 (42-36) victory over Sigma Coatings Montegranaro.
After the puzzling 2008/09 season, Petteri Koponen seems to be settled into the role of Virtus Bologna's starting point guard. 5-10" Scoonie Penn started alongside Koponen, but didn't take space nearly as much as Earl Boykins did last season. Koponen played a very steady 26 minutes in the win, collecting five points (fg 1-3 ft 3-4), two rebounds, three assists and one block with no turnovers.
Although Bologna's team play is far from ready, they had a very steady team production with Diego Fajardo, David Moss, Dusan Vukcevic, and LeRoy Hurd all scoring in double figures. Despite that, they couldn't pull away from visiting Montegranaro.
With just under two minutes remaining, Montegranaro had the chance to tie the game. Montegranaro's Robert Hite drove against Koponen and tried to shoot a running floater, but Koponen swatted the shot away and LeRoy Hurd responded with two quick transition points, putting Virtus up 72-68. Virtus locked down Montegranaro in their last two possessions and made four free throws, resulting in 76-68 victory.
While Koponen didn't portray his full offensive arsenal, his 3 fg attempt/3 assist/0 turnover night is a good sign when remembering his last season's "position crisis". Now it seems that he is the point guard of the team and it should only get better once scoring monster Andre Collins gets back in action. Meanwhile, Penn is the kind of grizzled veteran who should be able to help and tutor Koponen in his task.
Next week, Virtus is facing Angelico Biella in an away game. While Italian national team guard Matteo Soragna might be the team's most familiar name for Koponen, American fans should be most familiar with former Indiana Pacer Fred Jones, who played against Koponen in FIBA EuroChallenge Cup last season.
Virtus Bologna - Sigma Coatings Montegranaro 76-68 (23-19, 42-36, 54-54)
Virtus: LeRoy Hurd 15/7, Diego Fajardo 14/5, Dusan Vukcevic 12/4.
Montegranaro: Greg Brunner 19/6/4 steals, Marcus De Sousa Marguinhos 13/7/3 steals, Robert Hite 13/4/6 assists.
Petteri Koponen: Min 26 2pt 1/3 Ft 3/4 Pts 5 Reb 2 As 3 Bl 1, Start