Those who predicted that Fenerbahce stars might wake up and play well in play-off, were right. Fenerbahce already leads 2:0 over Arkas and can raise the cup on Sunday.
Ivan Miljkovic with his stable performance in play-off is definitely the deciding factor of this series, as the first match in Izmir showed. For Arkas, there is another deciding factor – health problems of their Brasilian hitter and great defender Joao Paulo Bravo who announced problems with kidney stones and missed the first match due to pains. With his absence, Arkas´ defensive play, reception and game organisation obviously worsens.
Arkas which managed to defeat Fenerbahce one month ago in Turkish Cup final, seemed to be unsure and intimidated by frenetic Fenerbahce fans even in their own sporthall. Apart from many other mistakes, failed in reception and clever ball distribution. Miljkovic punished these mistakes by 21 points in important moments and despite 28 points by Liberman Agamez, his team took the first and very important match 3:1.
In second game on Saturday in Istanbul, Bravo decided to play under painkillers and showed remarkable performance. Arkas started more focused and took the first set easily 15:25, but then started to have troubles on reception.
Fenerbahce shooters Miljkovic, Coskovic and Marshall killed Arkas attack by strong serves and in 3th and 4th set at block as well. This time not only Miljkovic, but mainly Leonel Marshall had great night with many deciding points at the end of the match (22 points, 3 blocks and 78% attack).
Fenerbahce won again 3:1 and stays only one match away of Turkish championship.
“After a season full of ups and downs, we finally started to play at our level in play-off,” commented Leonel Marshall. “We play better, because we really want to win.“
The third game which can already decide on the league champion will be again held in Istanbul on Sunday. Arkas wants to move the series back to Izmir, but Fenerbahce already holds quite a big psychological advantage.
Yet Leonel Marshall warned his teammates: “We cannot expect an easy game. Arkas is strong team. Again, we have to start focused and play like the series was 0:0, not 2:0.”
Arkas Izmir – Fenerbahce Istanbul 1:3 (25:27, 25:17, 22:25, 16:25)
Fenerbahce: Miljkovic 21, Marshall 11, Kayhan 11, Batur 9
Arkas: Agamez 28, Subasi 10, Meszarosz 10
Fenerbahce Istanbul – Arkas Izmir 3:1 (15:25, 25:20, 25:22, 25:19)
Fenerbahce: Marshall 22, Miljkovic 16, Coskovic 13, Batur 9
Arkas: Agamez 19, Bravo 11, Tocoglu 10, Hascan 10