After a year and a half with no fans in the stands, as a health protocol to fight against this Covid-19 pandemic, it was time to go back to our beloved normal basketball life, more or less.
Because there are still restrictions for the number of fans allowed to attend the game, with the arenas’ maximum capacity reduced to just the 40%. However, it was really nice to see and feel the fans cheering their home teams again. Without them, a basketball game is a little bit less exiting, to be honest.
The first round of the 2021/22 season was a really interesting one. Joventut beat Bilbao (85-79) with the help of newcomers like Willis and Vives, although the core team remains the same, with Brodizansky and Tomic dominating the boards. It was not a good day for Goudelock, unable to lead Bilbao, which nonetheless gave a hard time to the local team thanks to a great performance by Delgado and Miniotas.
One of the biggest surprises happened in Lugo, where just promoted Breogan beat Tenerife quite easily (92-73) after a great game by Musa, who scored 25 points and was named MVP of this round. There are great hopes for this player, who is looking to firmly establish himself as a star in Europe after a disappointing experience in the NBA.
Coosur Real Betis and MoraBanc Andorra played a great game in Sevilla, where the local team needed an overtime to finally defeat Clevin Hannah and Co (102-98). In spite of a decrease in the Budget for this season, Coosur Real Betis managed to build a proper team to give some joys to its fans, something they did not manage to do last season.
But, Vitto Brown, Marko Todorovic and Khadeen Carrington are more than able to lead this team to more ambitious targets. For Andorra, the young and promising French forward Noua proved that he is someone to keep an eye on for this season.
Baskonia defeated Valencia in a thriller (67-72), with the visiting team overcoming a bad third quarter, thanks to an amazing performance by Giedraitis, who scored 23 points and grabbed six rebounds. For Valencia, we have to mention the great game by Puerto, a promising player (’99) that scored 12 points.
UCAM Murcia gave Barcelona a hard time (85-78). Murcia finished the season in style, and they are keeping most of the roster for this year, so it will be a tough team now that they know each other well. Barcelona has the best roster in Spain, by far, but it was clear that this league, this year, will be really competitive. Higgins and Mirotic combined for 36 points and that made it much more difficult for the visiting team.
Gran Canaria beat Fuenlabrada on the road (87-92), thanks to a great game by Pustovyi and and Dylan Ennis. These two additions are great news for the yellow team, since they have the skills to score a lot of points on the paint and behind the arc. It will be exciting to see this team, for sure. Meindl did his best for Fuenlabrada, with 22 points and 11 rebounds, in the losing effort.
Another high scoring game was played between Casademont Zaragoza and BAXI Manresa (98-91). Francisco arrived to Manresa under a short-term deal, but he has proved that he belongs to this league. Great player. Also Moneke, with 15 points and 7 rebounds. It’s amazing how Manresa is able to build a whole team every year, and every year they are able to find hidden gems with their very limited budget. Almost the same can be said about Zaragoza, where all five top scorers are newcomers. Mobley and Waczynski combined for 34 points, well supported by Okoye, McLean and the exiting prospect Dino Radoncic.
Real Madrid beat San Pablo Hereda Burgos (70-60) in an interesting game, very defense-oriented. Newcomer Adam Hanga was the top scorer for Los Blancos with 14 points, while Braimoh was the only player in the visiting team to score in double digits.
The last game of the round saw Unicaja beat Monbus Obradoiro (91-79) thanks to an amazing performance by Jaime Fernández, who scored 24 points and dished 9 assists. Bouteille helped with 16 points, and newcomer Norris Cole added 14. Centers Ellenson and Okou combined for 34 points in the losing effort.