Monday, December 4, 2023

Unicaja: a lot of demand, little gasoline

We can safely say that he Unicaja is facing one of the longest seasons in its history. 281 days later to start working, and with 53 official matches through, the compositor team continues with the open possibilities of competing at least until the end of May. However, it seems that the squad has reached this end point, extremely demanding, with a very tight tank of gasoline. Perhaps it is just a perception, but in the last European weekend of the BCL it seemed that there is a certain saturation after a very long course and in which the team has had almost no respite.

The truth is that the typesetting technical staff has worked all season so that the squad arrives as fresh as possible at this stage of the course. Ibon Navarro has distributed the loads of all his players in an almost millimetric way so as not to saturate them with minutes and efforts. Even after the Cup he did a “reset” that cost some defeat, but it was necessary to start over. He excellent job done by the physical trainers, physiotherapists and medical managers to take care of everyone for so many months also adds to extend the good tone of the team. But they are people, not machines. And this final sprint is going to require one more effort from them that we will have to see how it is managed together.

You have to remember that Unicaja 22/23 began work on the track on August 9, a whopping 281 days ago now!! It was the first team in the Endesa League to finish the summer vacation. Why so soon? Because nine new players joined the squad and all the pieces had to be put together to avoid problems in the Qualifying Phase of the Basketball Champions League in September, in which the team could not fail.

Since then, there has been 32 ACB, 18 BCL and 3 Copa del Rey matches. A very important transfer at the level of loads for a team that still There are 2 games left in the Regular Phase of the League and another 2, at least, from the quarterfinal playoff final for the title, hopefully there will be more.

Unicaja will play its 54th match this Sunday. BCL

Besides, it is necessary to take into account that there are three very special cases in the staff. Alberto Díaz, Darío Brizuela and Kendrick Perry did not complete that preseason with Unicaja, but since the beginning of July they were concentrated with their respective teams. The American with a Montenegrin passport arrived for the Andalucía Cup after being eliminated from Eurobasket and the two Spaniards landed in Malaga with their gold three days before playing that European Qualifying Phase.

To put into perspective how long the compositor season is being, we can compare it with its close rival in this final sprint of the calendar. He lenovo tenerifewith whom the people of Malaga are going to play the fourth league in the play-off for the title, started work on august 29. That is to say, three weeks apart, which is very noticeable at this point. It is also true that they have played only one game less so far this year, 52 of them to the 53 of the green team.

mental load

The long season does not only affect the physical. The team was also seen in the Final Four somewhat mentally saturated. There are many efforts for some players who have faced the responsibility of returning the entity of Los Guindos to the highest positions in each competition: they found that all-or-nothing BCL Preliminary Phase in the middle of September, the regular season of the Endesa League, suddenly an unexpected final in the Copa del Rey and the goal of winning a new continental title at Carpena. Almost nothing…

Many times it is said that if the legs fail, the head also fails. It is true that everything is related. That if the physique is not at 100%, it is difficult for the mind to do it, but there is a question from this very weekend that shows that this fatigue goes beyond the strictly physical. Unicaja scored nine points in each of the second quarters of the Final Four. Well, after the break they came 36 against Bonn and 41 against Tenerife, thus surpassing their two rivals. In other words, tired, yes, but without losing the ability to compete.

On Sunday (12:30 p.m.) Txus Vidorreta’s men arrive again, on Tuesday they will have to travel to the Bilbao Basket court (9:00 p.m.) and the play-off for the title starts on Saturday or Sunday of the next week. Will there be gasoline for all this final sprint?


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