The first round of the European group of Group A of the Basketball Champions League comes to an end. Unicaja receives Peristeri Bwin at the Martín Carpena Palace, coached by the iconic Vassilis Spanoulis, on the third day of the continental league (8:30 p.m.).
The greens, solo leaders after winning on the Falco Szombathely track and the French Le Mans in Carpena, are looking for a plenary session this Wednesday night that will allow them to be very close to direct qualification to the second phase of this BCL 23/24 as champions of the group, without having to play the cumbersome play in that awaits the second and third place in the group next January.
Two teams on a roll
The greens, after six wins in a row, measure their strength against a rival that also arrives at this event at Carpena on a high note, with three consecutive wins. Before starting the league, cajistas and Greeks seemed like the two main favorites for first place and it does not seem that it will be a comfortable match for the green and purple.
Ibon Navarro has his entire squad in order, with the only exception of Augusto Lima. In other words, the Unicaja coach will have to make a discard again to comply with the quotas required by FIBA in BCL matches.. Only 7 players who are not Spanish or from training can play, so the green coach must leave one of his eight Americans out of the call. The first day the sacrifice was Melvin Ejim, the second it was Tyler Kalinoski’s turn. Who will be the third?…
A dangerous rival
The renewed Peristeri bwin squad has up to 8 signings. It is true that the great spotlight on the Athenian team goes to its coach, the legend of European basketball and recently appointed coach of Greece, Vassilis Spanoulis. The Athenian team has signed this season what was one of the best point guards in the BCL, Joe Ragland (Hapoel Holon), or the outsiders Jaylen Hands (PAOK Thessaloniki) and Kenny Williams (AEK Athens), both two great threats on the perimeter . These three players are the leaders of Unicaja’s rival.
At a statistical level, the BCL stands out Ragland (12 points, 8.5 assists -3rd in the competition-, 3.5 rebounds for a PIR of 15.5) and hands (19 points -9th-, 3 assists, 16.5 rating). Both are the main threats of the Greek team, who joins them in the direction Elijah Mitrou-Long (5 points, 2.5 assists) and Vassilis Xanthopoulos; on the perimeter Kenny Williams (7 points, 2.5 assists), the former Movistar Estudiantes player Nemanja Dangubic (5 points, 4 rebounds) and Nikos Chougkaz (7.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 12 efficiency); and in the area Nate Renfro (6.5 points, 4.5 rebounds), Leonidas Kaselakis (6.5 points, 1.5 rebounds, 1 block), Trevor Thompson (6 points, 3.5 rebounds) and Dimitrios Zougris.
It should be noted that Peristeri Bwin is the ninth club in Greece that the people from Malaga will face, after having done so before against Olympiakos, Iraklis, Maroussi, Panathinaikos, Aris, Lavrio Megabolt, PAOK and AEK. In total, the balance against Greek teams is 21 wins and 38 losses, although in Malaga the record is 17 wins and 12 losses (only losing to Olympiakos and Panathinaikos, in both cases in Euroleague matches).
We will have to see what Carpena looks like. It is more difficult for season ticket holders to get to the Palace during weekday matches. It is a very attractive duel, with a lot at stake and the ideal would be a great atmosphere to help the team add another victory, but we will have to wait to see whether or not there is “Carpena factor.”
The match will start at 8:30 p.m. and will be televised by 101 Televisión and also by Teledeporte.