By Eurohoops team/ email@example.com
This is why we love basketball. This is we why love the Copa Del Rey! A quarterfinal game with the intensity of a Final in which Gran Canaria celebrated the qualification to the semis by winning Valencia 83 – 78. Pablo Aguilar finished the game with 16 points for the winners, while Kevin Pangos had 9 points and 8 assists. For the losing side, Fernando San Emetrio had 17 points.
Such a game could not have been decided in any other timeframe other than the final minute. It was then, when with everything at stake, Kevin Pangos combined his rich passing skill with crystal clear focus, sending an almost perfect assist to Xavi Rabaseda that made it 76 – 79 for Gran Canaria with 32 seconds to go. Antoine Diot could not tie the match from behind the arc, and the Canadian point guard simply finished the job with 2/2 free throws. The tournament is over for the leader of the standings in Liga Endesa, but it has already started for the team from Las Palmas.
There were huge ups and downs, mood swifts, periods in which both teams seemed blacked out… or in a great rhythm. Valencia controlled the first quarter gaining a double digit lead, yet an incredible 0-21 run brought Gran Canaria in front of the score at the third quarter and the two teams tied at halftime.
Once more the “Bats” entered the match from the locker rooms, ready to rumble with Justin Hamilton and John Shurna putting their team ahead 65 – 57 before the final period. Coach Reneses entrusted the playmaking on the hands of veteran Albert Oliver who dictated the rhythm of his team brilliantly, and dished assists even better. The pick n’ rolls he set gave quite the trouble to his opponents and put Gran Canaria in the game again.
Valencia’s efforts to keep the lead were poor, with some open, yet not particularly good shots from the perimeter, missing their target. The risk taken by Gran Canaria to give these shots to certain players, like Justin Hamilton and keep their paint protected, had paid off. Moreover, their players looked, and were, more sure of themselves, translating this confidence in their game with the key plays that gave them the victory.