Barcelona have been crowned champions of Spain after a 73-69 victory over Real Madrid in a deciding game five of the Liga Endesa finals.
In front of nearly 8,000 fans at the Palau Blauguana in the heart of Catalunya, Juan Carlos Navarro lifted the Liga Endesa title after a brusing series against their bitter rivals. The sporting pride in Barcelona had been restored following Real Madrid’s La Liga success in the football, at the expense of Barca.
Pete Mickael led the hosts with 17 points supported by 16 from Fran Vazquez, the big men ruled the evening with Erazem Lorbek hitting 10, the latter claiming a much deserved Finals MVP award.
After a slow start, Barcelona looked to gain the advantage with Joe Ingles driving home in traffic to give the hosts a slight advantage at 8-6.
Real Madrid hung in there though, and their mid-second quarter 27-26 lead was extended to 30-26 following a triple from Jaycee Carroll, who led Madrid’s scoring with 16 points. The visitors were setting the tempo of the game and making life difficult for Barcelona, especially on the wings.
Barcelona regrouped, and went on an 11-2 burst to end the second quarter, highlighted by a dunk inside from Vazquez.
The hosts would go up by nine in the third thanks to a mid-range jumper from Mickael, as they looked to seal the title from there.
Madrid though had other ideas.
A Sergio Llull inspired run pulled Real back to within four at 60-56, and a three in the corner from Carroll made it 66-64 with a minute left. But Mickael stepped up for the hosts, helped by Ingles and Lorbek to secure the title.