Sunday, May 28, 2023

79-84: Unicaja finished fourth in the BCL Final Four

Who’d say? A Unicaja-Lenovo Tenerife at 5:00 p.m. to serve as a preview of the subsequent Hapoel Jerusalem-Telekoms Baskets Bonn. But it was whimsical Final Four of the Basketball Champions League and, with the two big favorites in the fight for third and fourth place, those of Txus Vidorreta ended up prevailing (79-84) in a game in which after losing for more than 20 minutes by more than 10 points, the compositors could perfectly win.

The theory was clear. What was this match for? Of practically nothing. To keep picking up the pace of the competition? Of consolation? The truth is that it can be said that the best Unicaja in the Final Four appeared in a final comeback attempt this Sunday. Illusion and win all the world. Character even more, but you have to be honest. If it had arrived in peak form, we would not be counting that fourth place was dyed green and purple.

How wrong were those who thought, even for a nanosecond, that the ‘green tide’ was going to leave their team alone. With all the compositor subscriptions practically occupied, lhe more than 6,000 fans from Málaga left their souls again. Even if there was ‘nothing’ at stake. Although the ‘prize’ was to beat a rival with whom we will come across not infrequently in the coming weeks. This is Malaga and basketball. It doesn’t need an explanation.

What also had no explanation was the arbitration. In a match where the winner got 100,000 euros, not only the players were the protagonists, but also the arbitration trio. So much so that Ibon Navarro ended up absolutely deranged. Well, Ibon Navarro, Alberto Díaz, Dylan Osetkowski, the coaching staff, the fans… A show outside of all the evolution that wants to raise Patrick Comninos with the BCL.

Another comeback attempt without a prize

Of course, even if it was the fight for the European bronze, It was clear to everyone that it was going to be a great game and expectations were met with what is seen on the parquet. Far from the percentages of the ‘semis’, the typesetters began with a brilliant 18-12. Life was a very different one with a good triple hit, but the Canaries knew that well too (23-24). 9/13 in triples between them, an unstoppable Shermadini for a very soft Sima and 29-31. Not bad as a preamble.

The truth is that the second quarter was similar, quite a bit, to what was seen in Tenerife in the League. A period decanted by arbitration, a Jaime Fernández more willful than ever for hurting his former team -He was not even close like that in the semifinal-… Like that day, despair came. a partial of 0-13 (34-44) that Ibon Navarro wanted to stop with a timeout and that he only increased because his team took several steps back. Only nine points in attack this quarter. There was nothing at stake, but neither did you have to reach certain limits (38-53).

The team got it. In four minutes only four points from Tenerife arrived. That’s where we had to start. The problem was that the attack was not going smoothly either (44-57). In those moments in which the people of Malaga could have fallen into despair, the always-awaited arbitration arrived. Two stalled attacks and two defenses that threw identity (52-66).

And it’s not just life changing when triples come in. Also when Carpena plugs in and when the defense arrives. With 6.36 minutes to go, Unicaja was going to always go to the free throw line and even more important: 59-66. Never doubt the heart of a champion! 71-76 with 3.00 to go. There was party. And so much! 78-78 to enter the last minute. Jaime Fernández scored a 2+1, Kendrick Perry -key to believe until the end- a free throw and Doornekamp gave the final thrust with a triple (79-84). The BCL Final Four is already history.


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