Within the filias that one has, I have a certain fondness for history topics, with lower or upper case. Beyond the history that matters, that of the world, that of the human race, the history of our sport also calls me to review it from time to time.
The particular history of our Unicaja, which is now reaching its first Final Four of the FIBA BCL, is what reminds us that since 1977 it has gone through various situations: not always being in the elite, insubstantial years without even knowing what was the place to look for, good years with little continuity, some return to hell represented by being demoted, search for a new identity and suddenly find that, almost accidentally, you have reached the top, to the place where only there are the chosen ones, with all the luxury and glamor that this entails and, above all, with the vertigo and the demand, something that is always difficult to digest, due to the tremendous shock that comes from encountering reality, which says that the work of the others have far surpassed the one you have not done.
When relatively recently, in the summer of 2021, it was decided to change the European competition to be played, from the Eurocup in the Euroleague universe to the Basketball Champions League, within FIBA, I very much doubt that anyone beyond the close environment of the club president understood the reasons for doing so. In fact, I would say that it sounded so much like “better not to get in trouble” that it provoked rejection. Rejection that turned into hives, when after a first performance, the team that we knew could do things much better, fell at the moment that the wind stopped blowing minimally in favor. There was no need for the gale to come, you just thought about how deep the basement was to where you could fall, and you couldn’t guess the bottom.
And well, you get to today, that moment when you think that losing out against a Hungarian or Slovak team is a possibility, that playing a play-off in the ACB is going to be necessary, and if the Cup of the King better. And the reality is that being seeded in the ACB is not nonsense, the banner of participation in the Final Four in Athens in 2007 has been changed to that of Champion of the Copa del Rey this year, and winning two matches in home (something that has happened eight out of ten times this season), it would be necessary to make room for another.
The thing is no longer just how fast the change has been, it is how profitable this change has been. I think the FIBA BCL has been especially useful, and I’m not going for the financial aspect and its vaunted prize money, which improves that of the Eurocup, but rather to speed up the integration of the squad. I think it has come much better, also, after verifying, especially in the playoffs, that what is played in the Euroleague is something different. I hope once and for all that there is a minimum of understanding and that there is a single competition with the best teams and the best players that are not in the Euroleague.
Seven editions give the FIBA BCL a certain value that, over the years, has been achieved by growing, gaining ground from the Eurocup. That the Euroleague system is at least arbitrary has also helped a lot.
Palmares to expand
Knowing if Lenovo Tenerife wins its third title, breaking the tie it has with San Pablo Burgos, or if Hapoel Jerusalem, Telekom Bonn or Unicaja will join their names to the historic AEK Athens or Virtus Bologna is something we will see next Sunday, but I would be well value what comes.
Since F4 is coming, the “scientific” data is taken out, such as that Unicaja, like this past Sunday, lost the ACB day prior to the victory in Badalona, or that Ibon Navarro’s men were the only ones who did not need three games in the quarterfinals, but it is left aside that the only team that loses to the appointment is Unicaja. Telekom Bonn beat Ratiopharm Ulm, Hapoel Jerusalem beat Maccabi Tel Aviv and Lenovo Tenerife beat Bàsquet Girona.
Another thing is that the Malaga team does not celebrate titles at home. In the first final of the Korac Cup, we all remember how it was against Limoges CSP, in the four final phases of the Copa del Rey, the closest it has come to the title was in 2020, in the final that Real Madrid won 95 to 68, the biggest difference in a final…
That winning is a possibility, it is very true. What’s more, the confrontation is even with the team that has the smallest budget of the three that come to Malaga, and so much life saying that the best thing this club has is the fans that carry the team on its wings, tells you that this opportunity can be only. But all this is just something you have to manage, perhaps not remembering the bad things you experienced very recently, but rather thinking about the real danger of moving away from the identity that this group has found and has put into practice in the moments in which it has been needy.
I was referring to playing at home, and although the fief will not be as compositor as in home games, how can it be otherwise, the majority will be with Unicaja, with which, the external problem will not be in a possible hostility, but in the management of responsibility if it mutates into anxiety.
As in any case, for the management of the team we already have Ibon Navarro, and the alleged “plan” that is surely already in his head and in that of the members of his coaching staff (and in which we trust), and having Taking into account that the typesetter staff arrives in good health, we can only hope that they do what they have shown they know how to do, being at the level required by competition and rivals, that they give the response that is expected of them and that they take advantage of this opportunity that We have been procured for the fans of Málaga, which is nothing more than enjoying ours in a great event.
It is true, I have not mentioned any of the good players that the opponents are going to bring, I am sure you already know them, the threat that TJ Shorts, Javontae Hawkins and the rest of their teammates represent or Levi Randolph, Zach Hankins and the rest of the Hapoel Jerusalem and Lenovo Tenerife campuses. If they manage to defeat the German rival, which will not be easy, it is one more task to solve, but above all, if there is something that the local team has won, it is that thinking about the happiness of the triumphs is not at all illusory.