No way for Manresa. the Catalonian team lost 86-73 its game to Blancos de Rueda Valladolid, which improves to 10-15 and places in a quiet zone in the stadings. Nacho Martín is decided to get a great contract in the league next season thanks to his brilliant performances. He’s averaging 19 points and 8 rebounds in last 9 games and ranks third in efficiency so far. Definitely the Spanish player of the year. This summer, with the absences of Felipe Reyes and Gasol’s brothers in Eurobasket, he could a have a well deserved chance in the national team. For Manresa, Troy DeVries socres and scores, but nobody helps him and his team is right now face to face with relegation.
Valencia Basket got a key win over Blusens Monbus 74-80. Justin Doellman had a outstanding evening with 32 points and went 12 for 12 from the free throw line. Thomas Kelati proved to be still on fire with 13 points. In the home team, Salah Mejri continues his progession and netted 18 points. Alberto Corbacho added 17 points making 5 of 13 on three-pointers. This man never gets tired of neither shooting nor missing. The home team managed to get a 1-point lead after pursuing Valencia all game long, but it was Doellman who took home the win for Valencia with a key three-pointer in last seconds, becoming the MVP of the week in the process.
Morris Finley. A lot of people in San Sebastian will thank this man for what he is doing for Lagun Aro GBC. With his addition, the team found the leader they needed. With this third straight win, this time over Ucam Murcia 86-78, the Basque team improves to 7-18 and ties Mad-Croc Fuenlabrada to avoid relegation for the first time since the beginning of the season. Murcia will have to deal with Antelo’s injury, the young power forward being the main player of the team during the last couple of months after being one of the top prospects in Europe, but not playing up to the expectations until now. Matt Gatens scored 17 points and joe Ragland 16 in a losing effort.
Juan Carlos Navarro is the all-time top scorer for FC Barcelona Regal in ACB. He scored 28 points to give his team an important win over Cai Zaragoza. Ante Tomic added 19 points and 7 rebounds in a great battle with Henk Norel, who scored 25 points, not enough to take the win home because no other player in the visiting team helped. Norel is proving to be one of the top young centers in Europe for the years to come after some dissapointing seasons in Joventut, where he could never explode as a star. The final score was 89-81, with the home team protecting its margin during the last quarter.
In Madrid, Uxue Bilbao got a valuable win over Asefa Estudiante after a horrible game by Carl English, his worst this season. He didn’t manage to score a single point and went 0 for 10 on field goals. German Gabriel and Jayson Granger gave their best to win a key game to stay in playoffs positions, but Alex Mumbrú and (surprisingly) Adrien Moerman, along with a confident Fran Pilepic, were stronger enough to win 79-88 after a great last quarter. Uxue Bilbao stays on fourth place while Estudiantes lose its place in playoffs by now in favour of Fiatc Joventut.
Herbalife Gran Canaria proved to be strong on defense and blowed past Cajasol Seville in a game in which the visiting couldn’t even get to 50 points. The score was 66-49, a slow-paced game with Spencer Nelson and Tomas Satoranski being the only players to break into double-digits in scoring. Herbalife stays in the race to reach the playoffs with a 2 games margin, while the Andalusian team gets into trouble with only 2 wins away from relegation and 9 games yet to play. Pops Mensah-Bonsu is not being a great help so far, which is normal after being playing his first games since the Olympics last summer.
Big surprise in Badalona. Home team Fiatc Joventut beat Caja Laboral 89-79 in a great basketball game. The home team couldn’t count with Corey Fisher and Ognjen Kuzmic, both of them sidelined, and having not found a replacement for Tony Gaffney, who left the team a couple of days ago. All this made the win even more heroic. Albert Oliver led his team with 21 points and 7 assists, but up to 5 more players went into double-digits in scoring. Fabien Causeur tried hard with 19 points, but the local team never lost control in the last quarter to keep the win at home.
In Malaga, Unicaja bested Mad-Croc Fuenlabrada 69-64, overcoming a 10-point déficit. The visiting team arrived to Malaga with a desperate need to win a game to put itself away from Lagun Aro GBC, but it was not possible to beat a team which is recovering old good vibrations. Krunoslav Simon played great with 12 points and 8 rebounds, with a nice help from Marcus Williams and Txemi Urtasun. In Fuenlabrada, only Leo Mainoldi and Kristraps Valters scored more than 10 points. Big problems for a team with a 1-5 record in last month and half. On the other hand, Unicaja ties Joventut in standings to reach playoffs after so many months.
To finish this review, a fairy tale. A team which plays in an island, probably the lowest budget in the league, a newcomer which almost didn’t make it to pay the taxes to compete managed to defeat the Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid on the road 83-96. CB Canarias arrived to the capitol city ready to fight with its own arms. What if Real had lost only one game so far? What if it is the best scoring team in Europe? They made it. Levi Rost, a player who has built a career in lower divisions in Spain, taking good care of giving his best every night, scored 18 points in 19 minutes. Richi Guillén, arguably the best Spanish player who never had a main role in ACB added 16 points and 3 rebounds and Saúl Blanco helped with 13 points and 6 rebounds. For Real, Felipe Reyes with 20 points for an index rating of 35 and Jaycee Carroll with 19 points tried to avoid the second defeat in 48 hours, but they couldn’t. With this win CB Canarias puts the cherry on the cake this season, its first ever playing in ACB, and climbs up to 12th position. Congratulations!
Fiact Joventut enters playoffs and Lagun Aro GBC says goodbye to relegation after so many months, replaced by Mad-Croc Fuenlabrada, now facing hot places in the league along with Manresa.
Next week more!