An unstoppable colossus, a match to love the game, the fall of an unbeatable court, “no pay, no play”, reasons to believe and much more this week in Spain.
Lagun Aro GBC got a key win in Fuenlabrada 72-86. Despite the tie score during the first three quarters, the Basque team managed to take a nice advantage thanks to Javi Salgado’s brilliant performance in the final quarter. Qyntel Woods went 5 for 5 from behind the arc in scoring a team-high 22 points for the winning side. For the home team, only Mainoldi could help his team in scoring, since it was not the day for James Feldeine, who only netted 10 points with poor field goal percentages.
Valencia Basket doesn’t lose its place for the playoffs’ run. This time Perasovic’s players downed Asefa Estudiantes 81-71 at home. Once again Justin Doellman led his team in scoring with 17 points and found a great help in Kelati’s hands with 16. Kyle Kuric scored 17 points in a losing effort. With this win, added to a good game in Eurocup quarterfinal, Valencia forgets about February’s horrible losing streak and faces the rest of the season with confidence. Estudiantes shouldn’t relax to keep its place in playoffs.
Uxue Bilbao protected well the margin during the last quarter in the win over Blancos de Rueda Valladolid 87-81. Nikos Zisis led his team scoring 20 points and dishing 7 assists. Alex Mumbrú was a force on defence with 6 steals. On the losing side, Nacho Martín sill fights for his team every evening, in despite of not being paid and scored 20 points. Newcomer Antonio Porta helped with 18. This fact leads to an interesting question: how can a team sign new players when they can’t even pay them?
Real Madrid took home one of the brightest victories of the season. The Spanish powerhouse arrived to Vitoria to face Caja Laboral and topped the home team 92-100 in a 40-minutes-long basketball monument. Real scored 61 points (!!!) in the second half to overcome a 16-point deficit. Rudy Fernández proved to be fully recovered after the aggression he suffered in Lithuania and netted 19 points in the third quarter. Jaycee Carroll went up to 25 points. On the losing side, San Emeterio and Nemanja Bjelica scored 19 points each, not enough to avoid their team from being 4 wins away from the leader now.
Fiatc Joventut won a thriller in Murcia 79-80. Corey Fisher, the young American point guard of the Catalan team, paced the winners with 18 points, to overcome the absence of Tony Gaffney, who decided not to play because of not being paid. This seems to be a trend in the league, something that could affect teams with a bad financial situation. Berni Rodríguez had a great game with 22 points, but it was Marcus Lewis who had the chance to give his team the win, but missed the last shot.
A colossus arrived to Seville, and this time there was no Wander to stop him. Salah Mejri proved to be one of the most exciting players in the league with 3 dunks and 4 blocks, making impossible for the home players to score near the basket. His dominating defence was a key for the visiting team to win. Surprisingly, asked after the game where he had been all this years, he simply answered “I never had the chance, until now”. In addition to him, and as usual, Levon Kendall played great with 16 points and 10 rebounds. In Cajasol, only Satoransky was worth a mention. The final score was 63-71.
Important game played in Zaragoza. The home team outscored Herbalife Gran Canaria 69-53 thanks to a great defence and Michael Roll’s scoring ability. Pablo Aguilar broke into double-digits both in scoring and rebounding with 12 points and 12 rebounds being the best Spanish player of the week. Xavi Rey was not successful when facing the basket with a bad shooting chart, despite adding 13 rebounds. Cai Zaragoza was best by far in the final quarter, and continues to fight for the playoffs, improving to 14-10 and ties Gran Canaria in the standings.
After an 8-game winning streak at home, CB Canarias finally had to admit that you can never win. Anyway, its rival was no less than FC Barcelona Regal, so it doesn’t hurt that much. The home team lost 81-89. Marcelinho Huertas scored 22 points to act as Navarro, who didn’t play, with a help from Mickeal, Wallace and Tomic. Both Blagota Sekulic and Saúl Blanco played great with 21 points each but it was not enough to face such a powerful team. Anyway, the game was open until the end, but the visiting team protected its margin with 2 consecutive three-pointers by Huertas, who is the MVP of the week.
Nothing changes in Manresa. The recently signed center, Josh Davis, got injured in the first training, and he never played a single minute with the team before being released. In addition to this, they had to face one of the strongest teams in the league, which is not having its best season so far, with the need to win the game to continue fighting to continue in the league next year. And they never had a single chance against the Andalusian team. Andy Panko led Unicaja with 18 points and Calloway added 13. The American players Asselin and DeVries tried one more week to avoid the defeat, but this year is a bad one for Manresa. They continue to be 3 wins away from avoiding relegation, but after every week the target is more difficult.
Nothing changes in the standings this week. Lagun Aro GBC is a little bit closer to say goodbye to relegation, but Fuenlabrada is still one win ahead. Real Madrid leads the standings with an almost perfect record 23-1, its best by far in recent years. Asefa Estudiantes, Blusens Monbus, Unicaja and Fiatc Joventut have a 12-12 record and will likely fight for the last place to reach playoffs.
Next week more!