The Unicaja fans are already counting the hours until Saturday arrives. The wait has been eternal since that Sunday, February 19, the day the compositor team played against Lenovo Tenerife to win and become champions of the Copa del Rey. Massive receptions, celebrations for long hours, historical videos and constant revisions of what was the badalona dream to quench thirst. However, What the “Green Tide” wants is to see their team again on the track and where better than at Martín Carpena, the mecca of any malagueño right now.
The party, the exhibition of the trophy and the documentary that the ACB is going to broadcast has the public dispersed from what is the basketball game itself. However, the more than 10,000 people who will come to the Palace this Saturday could also experience an unforgettable moment: the return of a Spanish legend like Marc Gasol to Malaga 18 years later to face Unicaja in Endesa League with his Basketball Girona.
The last time the Catalan center played at the Martín Carpena was on April 20, 2008, just a few weeks before he made his big leap to the NBA. Precisely, here he left one of the best games of the season with 18 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and a PIR of 35 in 31:59 minutes of play, which helped him win (65-71) against that Unicaja led from the bench by Sergio Scariolo.
18 years later, Malaga and Marc Gasol -as a player of an Endesa League team-, they could have their reunion with the party as a backdrop. And I say “could” because it is not guaranteed that the “center” will be available along with the rest of his teammates. He injured his foot a month ago and could not play against Breogán or Monbus Obradoiro. With the break in the Copa del Rey and the “FIBA window” he has had time to recover. Everything indicates that he has returned to training under the tutelage of Aíto García Reneses, but his current state of form is unknown and also the pace with which he has returned to work.
So what the Madrid coach – with a past at Unicaja – can say at the press conference prior to the match between the two teams will be essential. If it doesn’t finally arrive, it would be a very significant loss for the operation of Girona’s inside game, which would add to the already well-known separation of Pierre Oriola, now a player for AEK Athens, a rival of the compositors in the Round of 16 of the Basketball Champions League.
Now, if it arrives, it will be another of the attractions of this Saturday’s appointment. The compositor fans are usually quite grateful to the internationals of the team and it is very likely that Marc will receive the ovation of the “green tide” as a tribute to so many years of basketball.
We will have to wait for the news that can come from Catalan lands. What is clear is that, 18 years later, it could be a very important moment as a preview of one of the great games that the Palace will host in the second half of the Endesa League. Everything is ready to experience one of the most special days in the history of the Los Guindos club. The countdown is almost over to honor the recent Copa del Rey champions.