A Polish warrior, a mind somewhere far away, an unexpected choice and a young clutch player this week in Spain. Tomas Bellas is the MVP of the week.
CB Canarias is here to stay. That is a fact after a new exhibition against Unicaja Malaga. The yellow team downed the Andalusian team 97-92 after an spectacular game with a score in the final quarter 34-30. Saul Blanco, hyper-motivated playing against his former team, scored 19 points. Nico Richotti and Levi Rost added 17 and 16 each. In Unicaja, Txemi Urtasun tried to make up for Marcus William’s disastrous game with 20 points, but the home team managed to get a 15-point advantage by the end of the game. Unicaja still fought for the win, and they almost made it being only 2-point below, but Blanco netted a couple of free throws to give his team the win. CB Canarias is 2 wins away from playoffs while Unicaja still ties Blusens Monbus in the final spot to continue playing after the regular season is over.
Cajasol Seville got a valuable win over Fiatc Joventut 87-80. As usual this season, the Sevillian team started well, with Luka Bogdanovic being the player he used to, but in the third quarter the game seemed lost, thanks to a great Albert Oliver who scored 28 points for the Catalonian side. But in the final quarter, it was Blakney and Sastre who had the guts to overcome the score and put Cajasol 7 points away. Cajasol improves to 10-18 to be two wins away from relegation while Joventut stays 13-15, one win away from playoffs.
Mad-Croc Fuenlabrada won a key game over Bàsquet Manresa 73-51. The home team led the score since the very beginning, with a score after the first quarter 27-7. The game had no interest since then. showing how a classic team is saying goodbye every week a little louder. Not even a good game by a recovered Nemanja Aleksandrov helped. On the other hand, Mad-Croc got its 10th win and is now 2 games away from relegation. Brilliant game for Rob Kurz, who scored 14 points and grabbed 7 rebounds
In Vitoria, Caja Laboral won a thriller over Blancos de Rueda Valladolid 84-80. Nacho Martín went double-double with 26 points and 10 rebounds, but it was a losing effort. The home team proved strong with 8 players scoring 8 points or more. Among them, Andre Nocioni led his team with 13 points and 6 rebounds. Amazing how the Argentinian is still playing, exactly the way he used to 9 years ago, before he left fot the NBA. Could have he been the best small forward in Europe all those years? Probably yes, but he decided to get a place in the best league in the world and lost a few Euroleague titles in the process.
Real Madrid proved to be thinking about Maccabi Tel Aviv after losing to Valencia Basket on the road 88-79. The return of Justin Doellman helped his team to beat the Spanish powerhouse, but it was Thomas Kelati with 21 points who led the score. Newcomer Adam Hrycaniuk gave everything he had to defend the visiting centers, finishing the game with an index rating of 0 and a standing ovation from local fans after 17 minutes of fight. It is nice to see warriors like him in a basketball court. Sergio Llull netted 21 for Real, but his teammates had their minds somewhere in Israel and his effort was useless. Valencia improves to 17-11 and stays at 5th position while Real Madrid still leads the standings.
Damjan Rudez scored 23 points in 21 minutes with an almost perfect shot chart and his team Cai Zaragoza defeated Lagun Aro GBC 86-74. The Croatian small forward is proving to be a reliable player on offense in a top league for the first time in his career, and could get to be a very good player after a couple of years in Spain. In addition to him, Michael Roll went to 16 to put Zaragoza two wins ahead of 9th team in the standings. Lagun Aro GBC will still have to suffer to keep a spot in ACB next year, because after wins by Cajasol and Fuenlabrada this week, they are now 2 wins away from avoiding relegation. Doblas and Paunic scored 14 points each but it was not enough after Qyntel Woods’ bad performance, with 5 turnovers and poor field goal percentage.
Uxue Bilbao won a thriller on the road over Ucam Murcia 77-80. Roger Grimau and Kostas Vasileiadis led the score with 18 and 16 points each, but it was Raül López who paced Bilbao in final minutes showing how a true point guard should play. Berni Rodríguez led Murcia with 16 points, proving he has become a key player in Murcia after being a leader so many years in Malaga. But Nikos Zisis was cool-blooded and scored a couple of free throws in the final seconds. Matt Gatens missed a final three-pointer to give his team the win. Bilbao improves to 17-11 while Murcia stays 11-17.
Marvelous game played in Santiago de Compostela. Blusens Monbus and FC Barcelona Regal performed a basketball show with an unexpected final after an overtime. Kendall and Corbacho scored 20 points each, and with the addition of Robbie Humme, who netted 13, made Barcelona to suffer a lot to win. The visiting team finally bested its rival in the overtime thanks to a great Alex Abrines, who scored two key three-pointers and confirmed his great game against Maccabi Tel Aviv in Euroleague a couple of days before, and Ante Tomic, who scored the final points for his team. Anyway, this all could have had a different ending if Salah Mejri had known the score when he grabbed the ball with 6 seconds left. Instead of searching for a teammate to hit a three-pointer, he decided to shoot from the free-throw line to try to get two points. Everybody was amazed, and the center had to ask sorry to everybody in the end. The final score was 81-86. Despite this defeat, Blusens Monbus is still in the race to reach playoffs, being the 8th in the standings. Barcelona stays at 3rd position.
Tomás Bellas put on an amazing show to lead Herbalife Gran Canaria in the win over Asefa Estudiantes 72-64. His 31 points and 5 assists earned him the MVP of the week, and alongside Brad Newley, who scored 19, gave the home team a key win. Estudiantes missed Carl English a lot, and Kyle Kuric had too many shoots in his hands, going 2 for 8 from behind the arc. Jayson Granger scored 14 points in a losing effort. With this win, Gran Canaria stays 6th in the standings while Estudiantes also keeps its place at 10th.
Next week more!