By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
After the first Round of the Regular Season in Liga Endesa is finished, we know the teams that will compete in the Copa Del Rey. Valencia, Barcelona, Laboral Kutxa, Real Madrid, Gran Canaria, Bilbao, Fuenlabrada and the tournament’s hosts, Obradoiro, will clash swords in order to win the first title of 2016 in Spain. You can understand how the focus of attention, was not only on the derby between Barcelona and Valencia, but also in the games of Fuenlabrada and Unicaja Malaga, who were fighting for the last spot that would gain them entry in the tournament.
But let’s start with the first match we mentioned, which was as exciting and intense as we expected it to be, with lots of ups and downs for both teams, which controlled different periods of the game. Barcelona was the first to grab a good double digit lead near the end of the first half yet lost it rather easily, since Valencia grabbed the reins during the third quarter, refusing to let go of them. With seconds to go, and the score 79 – 82, coach Pedro Martinez decided not to foul his opponents and Tomas Satoransky punished him for that decision with a spectacular buzzer beating 3pointer. But the “Bats” were not disheartened, finding the strength to fight on the extra time and ultimately winning the match, showing faith to their plan, resilience and heart.
Solid shooting from long range and a good defensive second quarter, helped Unicaja Malaga take back Real Madrid‘s initial lead, and create many problems to Pablo Laso’s players. While the hosts improved their game in the third period, they could not control the game to the level they desired. With the score 82 – 80, the ball in the guests’ hands and everything up for grabs, K.C. Rivers made a crucial steal that allowed Sergio Lllull to score in transition, win the foul and get the stressful win for his team. After 2 consecutive presences in the Copa Del Rey, Unicaja Malaga will now not play in the competition.
But the management of Fuenlabrada will have to buy a new set of suitcases that will write “A Coruna”. Marko Popovic rose as a hero for the team from Madrid, with a huge late 3point shot that can be considered as the entry fee to the Spanish Cup. A trophy which Laboral Kutxa will also fight for. Giannis Bourousis threw another MVP-worthy performance to the pile of his other stunning games and led his team to victory over Andorra.
Two halves, two different stories for Tenerife that had to make a superb comeback during the third quarter, in order to bring Murcia down. Manresa cruised through Sevilla, as did Gran Canaria against Estudiantes thanks to great teamwork (5 players with double digit points) and another double/double by the team’s column, Alen Omic.
Liga Endesa 2015-16 – 17th Day
Barcelona – Valencia (Fernando San Emeterio 14 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists): 91 – 94 (OT)
Bilbao (Alex Mumbru 24 points) – Obradoiro: 88 – 83
San Sebastian – Joventut Badalona (Ousmane Drame 16 points): 70 – 74
Real Madrid (Sergio Rodriguez 17 points, 8 assists) – Unicaja Malaga: 85 – 80
Laboral Kutxa (Giannis Bourousis 26 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists) – Andorra: 95 – 83
Zaragoza – Fuenlabrada (Jonathan Tabu, 16 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assist): 79 – 80
Sevilla – Manresa (Marius Grigonis 23 points, 7 rebounds): 67 – 84
Tenerife (Blagota Sekulic, 15 points) – Murcia: 70 – 69
Estudiantes – Gran Canaria (Alen Omic 15 points, 11 rebounds): 70 – 81