March 2, 2021

Basketball King’s Cup: The champion starts with an early final

Valencia Basket players pose during a training session.

Valencia Basket players pose during a training session.

The Real Madrid and Valencia Basket will debut this Thursday in the Copa del Rey (9.30 pm) with an early ‘final’ in which the current champion must bring out all his artillery if he wants to overcome an opponent who arrives in a great moment of form and who dreams of dispatching the champion at the first turnaround.

The draw seeded this quarter-final duel between two Euroleague clubs they will live their third match of the season. Much equality is presumed after the Valencia will take Madrid in the Euroleague (77-93) and the white team will then take the league rematch at La Fonteta (78-86).

Champion in five of the last seven editions of the Cup, Real Madrid is the undisputed dominator of the Endesa League, where only one defeat in 21 games is counted, but Valencia Basket comes with an even better streak: 12 consecutive victories since they fell in November against Tenerife.

The first protagonists are already in Madrid I Copa del Rey 2021:

Further, the ‘taronja’ team stands with pending accounts in the Copa del Rey, where he has never been able to beat Real Madrid. In the last of these three precedents, the 2017 final, Pablo Laso and his pupils were proclaimed champions after a very close final battle in Vitoria (97-95).

The top scorer that day at Buesa Arena was Bojan Dubjlevic, whose duel with Walter Tavares is essential for the outcome of the tie. If the Montenegrin is fine from the perimeter, as he achieved in the triumph in the last WiZink Center triumph (6/9 in triples), he will force his rival to leave the area and create spaces for his teammates to play freed from the threat of the Cape Verdean .

Changed sides

Louis Labeyrie, who has grown a lot this course, and Mike Tobey, very solvent during the injury leave of ‘Dubi’, will also have to deal with the most transcendental man right now in the Real Madrid, whose importance has increased even more with the march to the NBA of Facundo Campazzo, still current MVP of the Cup.

Another piece of the duel will be played outside, where two players who face their old teams have a lot to say: Alberto Abalde and Klemen Prepelic. The first is performing at a very good level in his first season in white and the second reaches an unbeatable stage to try to prove that Laso was wrong with him.

In the casualty section, Real Madrid will not be able to count on Jeff Taylor, its best defensive specialist, and it has several players “between cotton wool”, as its coach has recognized, although it has Nico Laprovittola back after overcoming COVID. For their part, Fernando San Emeterio and Joan Sastre will miss the tournament on the ‘taronja’ side, which recovers Nikola Kalinic, a player who is performing at a very good level, and arrives very reinforced after beating Russian CSKA.

Data sheet:

Real Madrid: Alocén, Causeur, Deck, Thompkins and Tavares –possible starting five-; Llull, Rudy Fernández, Carroll, Laprovittola, Abalde, Garuba, Tyus and Reyes.

Valencia Basket: Van Rossom, Marinkovic, Kalinic, Williams and Dubljevic – possible starting five -; Prepelic, Labeyrie, Vives, Tobey, Hermannsson, Pradilla and Puerto.


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