In Valladolid, both Blancos de Rueda and Cajasol said goodbye to problems with relegation, despite one of the teams won 88-84 and the other one, obviously, lost. But a new defeat of Lagun Aro GBC at home against Blusens Monbus made it possible. Nacho Martín and Román Montáñez led their team in scoring while Latavious Williams and Luka Bogdanovic did the same for Cajasol in a losing effort.
In San Sebastian, though, things get more complicated as the home team has to win everything and wait for Mad-Croc Fuenlabrada to lose every game. Its rival this time was one of the hottest teams in the league, Blusens Monbus, which is trying to reach playoffs for the first time ever and die for it in every game. Rafa Luz and Benjamin Dewar, players with a strong self-confidence gave their team another key win 73-77 to stay in playoffs one more week. On the other hand, Morris Finley lost his magic and his team suffered from it, up to the point that right now seem to be sentenced to relegation.
Laboral Kutxa, playing its first game since being renamed from Caja Laboral, won on the road 83-86 against Mad-Croc Fuenlabrada, which still has to do the homeworks to avoid relegation. It seems difficult for them not to succeed, but everytinhg is possible and the team has yet to get another win at least in the three games. Same goes for Laboral Kutxa, but its target is to finish second in the standings. The defeat of FC Barcelona Regal in Madrid helps a lot.
Now let’s think for a while. Who would think not to broadcast the best possible basketball game in the country to everybody? How do expect to sell a product that has no interest in a football-based country if you don’t even offer the best you have? That’s what happened this weekend when up to 19 million people in Spain had no way (unless on the web) to see the crown-game in the league, Real Madrid-FC Barcelona Regal. Thanks God it was not an epic game as the one both teams played in Copa del Rey. Real Madrid beat its archrival 78-65 in a bad preview of Euroeague quarterfinals within two weeks. Felipe Reyes was the key man in the game with 19 points and 8 rebounds.
Unicaja Malaga won an important game against Valencia Basket 79-73 to keep on the race to reach playoffs, or at least to play Euroleague next season. Yes, if the Andalusian team finishes at least ninth in the league, they can play Euroleague. Why? Ask famous Jordi Bertomeu. As usual, Simon and Zoric led their team. The Croatian center is that kind of player extremely ambitious, and one wonders how many teams in Europe will ask (at least they should) about him this summer despite the year left in his contract with his team. Justin Doellman went to 19 points and 7 rebounds for the losing side.
I guess everybody knows by now, but in case you don’t, Jon Scheyer leaves basketball. As they say in Spain, “he cuts off his ponytail” being 25 years old. The standout player from Duke has accepted an offer from Coach K to return to his former team as a “special assistant”. Maybe that eye injury he suffered 3 years ago finally changed his mind, and he prefers to see basketball from the sideline from now on. In his last pro game, Herbalife Gran Canaria suffered a defeat on the road against Fiatc Joventut 97-89 after a great game by Albert Oliver. Ryan Toolson netted 28 points and Eulis Báez added 21 and 8 rebounds but it was not enough to sweeten Scheyer goodbye.
Kyle Kuric scored 27 points in Madrid to keep his team alive in the fight for playoffs. Asefa Estudiantes got a win over Ucam Murcia CB 94-85 in a great basketball game. The home team overcame a 6-point gap in the final quarter to improve its record to 14-17. In addition to Kuric, three players went to +20 in performance index rating with Kirksay outstanding thanks to his 17 points, 13 rebounds and 7 assists. Only Antelo and Jasen got their heads out of the sand with 16 poinst each for the visiting side. Joe Ragland also says goodbye to the league, after signing in Italy with Cantú to play post-season.
CB Canarias is still on the road. This team the yellow team took advantage of a Bruixa da Or Manresa that couldn’t get to the final quarter with the chance to win despite 28 points by Adam Hanga, MVP of the week. Nico Richotti, Ricardo Úriz and Fotis Lampropoulos led the winning side to be only a win away from playoffs for another week. Canarias scores agains more than 90 points in a game, being one of the nicest teams to see in Spain right now. It seems that Alejandro Martínez philosophy has proven successful also in the top league in Spain, after being a hidden secret in lower divisions for years.
In Bilbao, the home team outscored Cai Zaragoza 100-90 thanks to an outstanding performance by Fran Pilepic, who went to 30 points after being averaging only 2,75 points per game so far. By the way, Uxue Bilbao also got a valuable basket-average advantage in a very hot place in the standings. Pablo Aguilar and Henk Norel scored at least 20 points each in a losing effort.
Next week more!