Not even Bilbao Basket could secure tenth place, the one that they say leads to the Champions League without overcoming previous hurdles, nor did Unicaja have the slightest chance of reaching fourth, which gives them an advantage in the first playoff for the title. Because both depended on highly improbable results in other latitudes. The Biscayan side was a more bizarre carambola: winning against a whole Unicaja, a great team within the reach of very few this year, or waiting for Obradoiro to defeat a Fuenlabrada that smells like LEB on all four sides almost since Christmas. At the moment, it occupies the 11th rung, and if Breogán prevails over Valencia, one more will fall, although that is big words for the people from Lugo before a group that is playing the playoff. And the people from the Costa del Sol looked askance at Tenerife-Zaragoza, who woke up with a rojilla surprise, but Vidorreta’s pupils did not allow themselves to be surprised in their defense of fourth place. This is precisely one of the crosses that are coming up in a few days, Tenerife-Unicaja, the most attractive of the four that are going to be presented, because it is the closest of the contenders in the regular phase.
The game can be summed up in two words, or, to be more exact, two names: Tyson Carter. The Cup MVP is an extraordinary player, from another planet, a super elite shooter. Unicaja imposed its enormous physique on both sides of the track. Surne finished the course with Llorente, Barandalla, Reyes, Andersson and Tsalmpouris. Players with a medium-low profile who keep their backs to the first swordsmen, who are not stars in the European concert either. Barandalla made the last shot of this season in Miribilla. An action with a lot of symbolic charge. Unicaja left nothing behind, it deployed without concessions at any time. Starting with Ejim. He plays in the open field like few others and does not stop stepping on the accelerator. Not even the casualties of Alberto Díaz and Brizuela (Lima has long been forgotten) makes them save careers. The best thing to get to the quarterfinals with a good feeling is a display as powerful as the one in Bilbao.
The clash began with a deceptive equality. Unicaja, somewhat cold on serve, began to control the situation and undermine the morale of the impetuous ‘men in black’ from the attack rebound, on many occasions long rebounds that went to perimeter territory. That gave them confidence against a Bilbao Basket that was losing aggressiveness with the passing of the minutes. He kept himself upright by going to the free throw line and with the enormous success of Reyes in that characteristic game of his to receive and shoot. Ponsarnau tried to change the pace with a zone with adjustments. He continues to recompose the puzzle as best he can, putting together experimental quintets, like going out with Andersson as a three, uniting Rabaseda and Reyes as forwards, or the great Tsalmpouris-Withey…
The people from Malaga finished with an unquestionable and bulky victory. They managed to break the offensive rhythm of the locals and began with their lethal transitions. Brizuela did not comply this time with the tradition of stabbing Bilbao Basket on the field. The pride of Ponsarnau’s pupils remained standing until the disaster in the third quarter. The energy deposit was left at zero. Llorente completed his second stage as a ‘man in black’ and the irony of “Y Llorente qué” was heard ironically, that ex-soccer player Fernando is adorned in San Mamés.
The income went to 34 points (69-103). The Biscayans did not deserve a punishment like this, the biggest of the year, but it is what there is putting such a large group on the scales and on the other a team that is going with very fair forces. What remains is almost always the last, but the norm is broken in the case of the Biscayans. At halftime, Sulejmanovic launched from his own half in the last second in search of an impossible triple and left the cube on the board ‘one-eyed’, in the remaining part of the time. The rotations began to open a gap in the clash and also the muscle and height of the visitors. They put into practice a very open defense and the rival was diluted.
The season finales must be analyzed with a magnifying glass. There are details that are very clarifying. Seeing the seats next to the local bench is disheartening: Hakanson, Goudelock, Alonso and Rigo were in street clothes. All ones and twos. The latter has entered two calls, but has not been able to say goodbye to the year short because the doctor does not want risks. Rabaseda, for his part, was eliminated after a technique and was beside himself. He’s not a superstar nor has he been called out for scoring, but he was hailed because he epitomizes what this pick and shovel team is all about. Smith, awarded before starting as the best in Surne this year and honored with a txapela, was fired at the shout of MVP. The dream is to keep the skeleton next year, when a new walk through the clouds of the epic will be sought. To finish off the course, lap of honor of the entire squad greeting the stands. Long glory to those guys.
Ponsarnau: “The season we’ve had has a lot of merit”
Ponsarnau confessed that he felt “particularly satisfied” with a season that “has a lot of merit.” “Working in these conditions is wonderful. I wish I hadn’t had to do it with so many injuries, role changes, relocating people… but the season we’ve had has a lot of merit”, highlighted the ‘men in black’ coach after the farewell match.
The ilerdense coach assured that “he had never coached a team that trained with such enthusiasm, after victories and especially after defeats.” “It is a huge satisfaction and playing in Miribilla with this support is fantastic. I am very grateful to my staff mates, who have worked hard and with passion, to the club for their confidence and to Rafa (Pueyo, sports director) for his support and for having solved the many problems we have caused him with injuries”, he said. .
Regarding the game against Unicaja, he only regretted “not having managed to prepare the team well”. “It was my mistake and it annoys me more because of the response that Miribilla has had, because of the influx despite the hour and because despite losing they have stayed to applaud the team. It is a joy ”, he congratulated himself.
Navarro foresees a ‘playoff’ in which “there may be surprises”
Ibon Navarro foresees that “there may be surprises” in the Endesa League playoffs that will begin next weekend and admitted that the match between his team and Lenovo Tenerife “may be the most even” of the first round. “Let’s see how Real Madrid and Barcelona return from the Final Four, let’s see how Baskonia ends… It’s going to be a ‘playoff’ that anything can happen after three games”, assessed the coach of the Malaga team after the victory achieved in Miribilla against Surne Bilbao Basket (71-103) in the last day of the regular season.
“With Tenerife we know each other well and there are many things to think that it will be an even tie,” added Navarro who had little hope that Txus Vidorreta’s team would lose on their court against Casademont Zaragoza and thus Unicaja could have the home court factor in his favor with his triumph at the Bilbao Arena.
Regarding the game against Surne Bilbao, the coach from Vitoria highlighted that they managed to control the game “from the attacking rebound” and that after the local reaction in the second quarter in the second half they managed to “break their rhythm and run” with a Tyson Carter “Very inspired”. “Despite the difference, it hasn’t been so easy until the last quarter,” added Navarro.