It’s a fixture that has been overlooked over the last three weeks, mainly due to the Euroleague quarter-finals taking place, but Gran Canaria and BC Khimki will lock horns in the first leg of the Eurocup final on Friday night.
Unfortunately for the Eurocup, the prestige of their finale itself has been lost not just with the business end of the Euroleague season in progress but with the game being played over two legs, instead of the excitement of a one game showdown, fought at a neutral venue.
Last season, Valencia were crowned Eurocup champions after defeating Unics Kazan over two legs. But the damage was done after the first quarter of the second leg, as the Liga Endesa side won the opening tie 80-67 then romped the first ten minutes of the second game 16-4, leaving Unics with a double-digit deficit not only on the night but also on aggregate.
From there, the game was a non-event. Everyone inside the Basket Hall Arena in Kazan knew that the game was up.
But the main point is that finals; or showpiece games should never be decided over two legs, as it ruins the entire stature of the game overall. A meaningless final is risked if the first leg is a blowout.
In any event, BC Khimki have maintained Russia’s consistency in the competition’s main event by being involved for five straight seasons.
They just don’t want a repeat of what happened to Unics Kazan last season.
Gran Canaria will appear in a Eurocup final for the first time in their history and it is a richly deserved honour. They have only tasted defeat once in 22 games this season and one of the key components to their success in the tournament, Walter Taveres believes that his side have to be smarter and up their intensity in order to qualify for next season’s Euroleague.
“Our main weapon has been team work, all season long,” Taveres said. “We play really well as a team, especially on defence. Another big key is being able to be really focused, be 100 percent into the game from the very beginning of it.
“We play with a lot of intensity and we hope to be in the best physical condition we can to do that in both games, be as aggressive and tough as possible so that our defence make them feel uncomfortable.”
The first leg will be played in Gran Canaria on Friday with the second tie in the Moscow Region on Wednesday.
Quotes by Javier Gancedo.