UNICS: Finals-Bound!

UNICS Kazan defeated Zenit St. Petersburg at home in Game 5 of the playoff finals, 79-70. The visitors led at halftime, but Kazan was able to up the tempo and shut down Zenit's offense in the second half. A 28-14 advantage in the 3rd quarter put UNICS in control and Evgeny Pashutin's men never looked back, advancing to the league finals for the first time in four years. Despite the defeat, Zenit finishes in 3rd place for the first time.

Zenit needed to be aggressive in Game 5 and the visitors wasted no time attacking from the perimeter. Ryan Toolson set the tone with a pair of 3-pointers, before UNICS managed to erase a five-point deficit and take a four-point edge into the 2nd quarter.

Zenit responded, opening the second period on a 7-0 run. After the frenetic start, the tempo slowed to end the first half. Both teams dug in on defense, forcing turnovers and struggling to connect from the field.

Trailing by nine, a trio of 3-pointers from Keith Langford, Anton Ponkrashov and Petr Gubanov cut Kazan's deficit to four, 39-35, at halftime.

Overall, UNICS struggled on offense in the first half, scoring just 35 points. That changed after the break. Kazan looked to increase the tempo and attack the paint in the 3rd quarter.

With Toolson unable to stem the UNICS tide on his own, Zenit's watched its lead evaporate, dropping behind by 10 points to enter the final period.

Kazan's defense stayed strong in the 4th quarter, maintaining a comfortable 12-14 point margin. Toolson did his best, finishing with a game-high 32 points, but Zenit never got closer than eight and suffered elimination from the playoffs.

UNICS moves on to face CSKA in the finals for first time since 2012, having already secured a berth in the Euroleague next season. Zenit finishes in 3rd, the team's first-ever bronze medal in only its second season in the league.

Star Player
Quino Colom. A huge presence on offense throughout the series, the Spanish guard came through again in Game 5, scoring and getting Latavious Williams involved in the paint. Colom finished the game with 21 points, three rebounds, five assists and two steals.

Stat of the Game
41% - UNICS shot 41% from downtown, compared to just 29% from Zenit. St. Petersburg hit three 3-pointers in the first few minutes, but only five more the rest of the way.