Sunday in the ACB had a clash between two smaller cities that are both included in the metropolitan areas of much larger ones. The home side, Club Joventut Badalona, are to the north east of Barcelona are across the Besós river whilst visiting Balencesto Fuenlabrada are approximately 20km south west of the Spanish capital. Of course neither side would appreciate being coupled with their larger neighbour, Joventut especially having their own wealth of basketball success and being one of three teams to have never been relegated in the ACB.
History aside, the game was closely contested in the first three quarters with Joventut leading for the most part but never quite able to pull away from Fuenlabrada who eventually took a brief lead in the third quarter but were trailing again by the end of the same quarter. In the fourth Joventut took control of the game building a double figure lead which the visitors whittled down to seven points with two minutes left on the clock. However a couple of threes from veteran Demond Mallet and another from the corner by Goran Suton put to rest the Madrid side’s aspirations and La Penya took the win 79-66.
Despite Fuenelbrada’s tenacity in the first couple of quarters in not allowing Joventut get away from them, their downfall came largely in the form of free throws which they conceded 29 of, the home side putting away 23 of them at 79% shooting. The fouling certainly interrupted Joventut’s ability to gain rhythm and build a lead in the first half, but ultimately only delayed the defeat when the visitors failed to capitalise in the third quarter.
Demond led the home side’s scoring with 15 points, including three threes while his opposite number, Jonathan Tabu, split the title for the visitors alongside Josip Sobin at 10 points-a-piece.
The local supporters gave a good turn out to the early game on Sunday, with the referees drawing some heat in the second quarter for a foul called on the home side, but the cries of ire were quickly replaced by a roar and some whooping from the stands as Goran Suton immediately blocked the visitors attempt to take advantage of the decision in the following play.
These results have Joventut Badalona climb a place to eighth place in the ACB, a spot ahead of fellow Catalan side, Manresa, who they face away this coming Sunday. Baloncesto Fuenlabrada fell to 13th one place behind Andorra who will visit them at the weekend.