By Eurohoops team / firstname.lastname@example.org
Real Madrid was eliminated in the Group Stage of the Spanish ACB League’s final phase and left out of the semifinals for the first time in 12 years. It was a blow for the defending champions that didn’t manage to conclude the season by achieving the Liga Endesa three-peat.
“The tournament’s hashtag was ‘to return is to win’, right? Well, we returned but of course, we didn’t win,” Real Madrid coach Pablo Laso said, per AS. “I’m not happy with how we played in the tournament, I would’ve liked to win it but like all the teams that came here, I assess the team for the entire season. We won the Supercup and the cup, we were ranked second in ACB and in EuroLeague. We have to assess everything, not only this tournament, which we knew it was difficult and special. We had balance until March 12. The balance was great. Then we weren’t well in this tournament and we’re not happy. I congratulated the guys before the game for the work of the whole season, we are leaving with a bittersweet flavor.”
Laso’s players concluded the tournament with a win over Zaragoza but their fate had already been sealed after Valencia‘s victory over Gran Canaria.
“We wanted to end the tournament with a win. Zaragoza has great players, we know that it would pose difficulties for us. it wasn’t an easy match for either team but we were serious and we have done – knowing that overall it was a difficult game – very good things. I’m happy with the win, the mentality, the effort… it was the fifth game in nine days.”