Bilbao, to forget the setback against Obradoiro in Manresa

Bilbao Basket visits Baxi Manresa tomorrow at the Nou Congost (8:45 p.m.) with the intention of forgetting the setback of the last day of the league in Miribilla against Monbus Obradoiro and continuing in the notable line that, for the rest, this season. That defeat against the Santiago team has lately been the only bad news in the environment of a Biscayan team, which until then had three consecutive victories in the League, remains in playoff positions and cup cups in the table and, furthermore, is outstanding in a Champions in which Group D dominates with authority.

In fact, those from Ponsarnau have come to Manresa directly from Turkey, to save time and comfort. There they made sure with an exhibition against Bahçesehir College (60-92) to be group champions and avoid the uncomfortable ‘play-in’ prior to the phase of the 16 best teams of the competition. In this state of mind, only the physical problems with which the guards Hakanson and Radicevic returned from Istanbul and the cold that Withey has overshadowed the preview of a game in which ‘the men in black’ hope to strengthen their presence at the top of the table, in which now, with a balance of 6-5, they are eighth, with one win more than ninth and one less than seventh. However, it seems that all three will be available against a rival that is bottom of the table (2-9) after a first third of the championship far from their expectations and with continuous changes in the squad. The arrival in the last days of the interiors Martinas Geben and Devin Robinson will make them recover spirits.

In the history between the two teams, twice as many Bilbao victories, a total of 20, than Manresa (10). Although three of the Catalans have been in the last four matches. In the last clash at the Nou Congost, last season, a local victory by 87-79 with a great performance by Dani Pérez (18 points, 6 assists and a PIR of 20). In the return visit in Miribilla, Surne Bilbao ended a streak of three consecutive defeats against a rival whom they beat 89-82 led by the Dominican center Delgado (13, 7 rebounds and 18) and neutralizing the great game of Moneke (13, 10 and 25). Tomorrow’s match will be refereed by Fernando Calatrava, Javier Torres and Esperanza Mendoza.

It is a day with a lot of sentimental charge for Jaume Ponsaranu, who began his career as a professional coach in Manresa and was in charge of the Nou Congost team between the 2007-08 and 2012-13 seasons. He admitted that it will be special to return to the Nou Congost. “In addition to Bilbao now, my other houses are Valencia and, above all, Manresa. Here I started to be a professional trainer and here I have my house and my family lives. But once the initial jump is taken, all that is forgotten because it is a track that requires you to be very focused, ”he stressed.

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The Tàrrega coach warned that Manresa “has gained competitiveness” with the arrival in recent days of the two ‘paint’ players. “They had the handicap of having few inside players of the level that such a special proposal required, but with the signing of these two players they have taken the step they needed and can be a very competitive team,” he highlighted at a telematic press conference from Manresa .

“The objective is to do a good training session in the arena today to get a feel for it because it is a game for which the level of mentalization is important. If we want to compete well, we have to have the utmost respect for Manresa, ”he said. He believes that one of the keys to have a chance of adding the seventh victory of the season is to control the “rhythm” of the match and not let his rival impose speed on the game. “We have not been solid against teams that have run a lot and Manresa is the team that runs the most in the league. The first thing we must do without a doubt is to do a better job than ever in that regard. If they gain pace and make running baskets, it will be a more complicated game, ”he stressed.

For those from Bages it is a key match, because at the club they understand it as an opportunity to add the third victory of the season. They have five consecutive defeats, three in the League. Against Madrid they fell by a clear 103-89. They cannot have center Jordan Caroline, injured in his left elbow. The forecast is that he cannot play more in the remainder of the year. Neither will Olomuyiwa, who underwent surgery on his right Achilles tendon a month ago and will not return until at least next February. One of the novelties of the match will be the premiere of the new electronic video scoreboards that the club has bought this week. On Thursday they were presented and will allow a greater audiovisual quality to follow the meetings.

Pedro Martínez found parallels in the current Bilbao Basket with Baxi Manresa from last season. “They remind me a bit of us last year, competing in the top eight positions. Even so, they are a different team, with different players. We will have many difficulties because they arrive with confidence and we are in a different dynamic”, he commented. Regarding the signings of Geben and Robinson, the veteran coach considers: “I think they are a bit lost, it is normal, they have gotten on a moving train and they have to adapt.” He also talked about the pressure his players have. “We are realizing that we play better away from home than at home because not winning makes you more restless. We need the victory to gain confidence and be better mentally”.

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