24 days ago Madrid was dead. Their quarterfinal tie was 0-2 against a Partizan that showed signs of overwhelming superiority. But after that stumble that seemed final, the whites rose with a protagonist above the rest: Sergio Rodríguez. He chacho, who landed back in the White House this summer, was not having his best season, with his defensive performance a handicap. However, a magician will always be a magician, and the point guard lifted what seemed impossible to lift.
“The entrance of Chacho was very important because he began to shout like a real veteran, you have to listen more to people like that, because of their voice, their experience. He first raised me and then the whole team. Exactly, he told me that if I lowered my head, he was going to raise it; she has lifted us all”, assured Mario Hezonja, white forward, after Real’s victory in the third game at the Stark Arena.
The meeting that marked the way to the Eleventh, a path that the canary paved with high basketball lessons. with nothing on special. She pulled from classics. He went to the basics. Simply, with center pick and roll with Tavares as a means of terrorizing the rival defense. And it didn’t fail. Neither that day nor in the four following duels because if you covered the connection with the African, the point guard messed you up with penetration, medium-distance shooting and even with a triple that was pulled out of his sleeve as the last front. to Olympiacos.
The result, five victories in the race for the continental trophy. “When Chacho takes out his crutch and fights…”, Chus Mateo, Real Madrid coach, praised a player who scored the three-pointer that opened the door to glory with 48 seconds to go and who closed the final with 15 points and a PIR of 23, Madrid’s maximum. LThe 9 assists he added make him the top passer in Final Four history with 70, ahead of Llull (66) and Sloukas (54). In the five meetings from the third with Partizan to the final against the red army, Rodríguez has averaged 11.5 goals and 6.2 assists for a PIR of 15.6.
The incredible lull
“It’s been an amazing two weeks”, El Chacho said as soon as he finished a duel that decided, who else, the other Sergio, The incredible Llull, that in one of those plays in which nobody wants the ball. He does. He is always a yes. He took the determination: in the last possession, with only 12 seconds to close the final, the Spaniard caught the ball and shot to the sky, falling and over the 218 centimeters of the giant Fall, he scored the basket that is worth recovering greatness in Europe.
“When the coach painted the play for me, basically in the timeout, he forced me, but hey, luckily it went well. That was the play, I had to decide later and that shot went in and we were able to win, so I’m very happy”, Llull commented on the play. “There is no other who scores those baskets, if he could catch that ball, it was his; all the companions would have given it to him too”, Chus Mateo said about the Spaniard, who already has three continental titles. And that he is the top scorer ever in the Final Four: he has 198. The greatness of the Sergios. The greatness of Madrid.