More than 12 years after making his first appearance on the European stage, Alexis Ajinca returned to make another debut as LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne wrapped up first place in Group F with a 72-61 home victory over Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar on Wednesday night.

Ajinca was just 18 years old when he played his first EuroLeague game, appearing for just over a minute in Pau-Orthez’s thumping 89-67 win over Fenerbahce Ulker on December 21, 2006. Before long the rising young star headed to the United States, but returned to France in 2011. The giant big man enjoyed a couple of great seasons with Strasbourg, netting an average of 17.1 points over nine games in the 2013-14 EuroLeague campaign before again departing to the NBA.

Now, after recovering from serious injury problems, which kept him out of action for more than 18 months, Ajinca is back in Europe for the third time, hoping to play a key role in ASVEL’s charge for the 7DAYS EuroCup title before next season’s promotion to the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague.

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