By Lefteris Moutis / firstname.lastname@example.org
Malaga succeeded (!) to win (79-65 Fuenlabrada) on Sunday only for third time after 14th of January in any competition (Spanish League, Cup and Euroleague). Their results are so disappointing that the local newspapers had in their headlines the title “News: Unicaja won!”
So, two games before the end of the Spanish regular season, Malaga is eleventh in the standings and can play in playoffs only by a miracle! They must win Bilbao and Seville and also be favored by the results of Lagun Aro, Alicante, Zaragoza and Manresa. The odds are definitely against them…
Although, as the members of the board assure, an above all President Eduardo Garcia (photo), the play offs goal is only a matter of prestige rather than substance. The discussion that has developed was just a theory; Unicaja doesn’t worry even if they don’t even qualify to the playoffs, but neither if they finish under the first half of the standings table (that means to reach the ninth place). The last parameter (about the ninth place) was agreed during last year’s board between teams with A license and European leagues.
But isn’t it surprising, since Roma last year lost its place in Euroleague and the A license, because they haven’t qualified to the playoffs?
In Malaga they feel confident about the A license as they say to off the record conversations, even if Unicaja finishes tenth or eleventh; either with a renewal of A license, or by an invitation as the reporter of the newspaper Diario Sur, Juan Calderon says to eurohoops.net.
Besides that, Euroleague hasn’t forgotten the support of Unicaja for so many years and wants to reward them in that way. Unicaja has huge sponsors, big project, good players, full gym and apart that, Malaga was the leader among the four Spanish teams with an A license (FC Barcelona, Real Madrid and Caja Laboral) in the dispute against the Spanish leagueover the next season’s calendar.
All four teams made it clear that they want to play Fridays in Euroleague and the Spanish league forced them to review their plans. The “war” hasn’t ended yet, but it’s almost certain that Liga Endesa will make an exception for the four teams and will announce games also on Mondays!
Euroleague and their four Spanish “combatants” are moving forward; so the only hope for those who shout against them (Bilbao, Valencia) is the qualification to the final of the Spanish league; as the Basques did last year. Something that of course isn’t easy… Remember that Bilbao last year was the only team except the four teams with A Euroleague licenses (Barcelona, Real Madrid, Caja Laboral, Malaga) which participated in the final of Spanish league during the last seven years!