He Baskonia is the new Endesa League champion after beating the Barca (67-69) in the last game of the Endesa League Final Phase, an ‘exceptional’ champion who based his victory on defense, rebounding and the inspiration of Luca Vildoza and work of Ilimane Diop.
Those of Dusko Ivanovic knew how to suffer for, going in tow, come back in the last quarter and endure the type against a Barça lost in attack, with Nikola Mirotic removed, and that he did not know how to stop Vildoza (17 points), Shengelia or Diop. Baskonia, ten years later, is the Endesa League champion again.
Since 2010 I have not won a Baskonia who, with this, already has four leagues. Barça, by contrast and despite being the favorite, closes a blank season in which they have not been able to win any ACB title and that will leave them unanswered of what they could have done in the Euroleague. But, Despite the millionaire project with Mirotic at the helm, the campaign smells of fiasco when it goes blank.
Seventh game in fourteen days, with a physical load and intensity also abnormal to give more exceptional to this title. The final started and ended with a lot of nerves in both teams, which led to unusual losses and errors in such quality hands. In between, good basketball and an equality that transferred the maximum emotion to the final minutes.
With 3:20 to go, a time-out served both coaches to give nuance to their players, with 64-64 on the scoreboard. Just over three minutes to decide a title. Both Barça and Baskonia, who were unsuccessful in the outside shot, were still looking to add three by three to distance themselves on a scoreboard that registered a maximum of +6 for Baskonia and +9 for Barça, in the first half.
The ‘MVP’ of the Regular League, Nikola Mirotic, was eliminated due to personal fouls with 5 minutes to go, so Barça played without their benchmark. Thomas Heurtel appeared to score and deal the game, but this time Pierre Oriola did not dress as’ Oriolic‘and Barça lacked more internal power. Especially seeing that Tornike Shengelia, although exhausted, went from less to more on the Baskonist side, where the great match of Ilimane Diop stood out.
Yes, Oriola did win an offensive rebound and caused a foul, 10.1 seconds to go, which allowed him to equalize the game again from the free throw line (67-67). Polonara, who rebounded when Janning had blood on his hand, assisted in. a great back door to the ‘MVP’ of the final Luca Vildoza, which he scored at pleasure. Barça, with possession of 3.2 seconds, gave the hot ball to Higgins, who was 2/5 in triples, and failed.
Baskonia celebrated that failure in style because it meant his victory, his ecstasy, his culmination of a season that looked like it was going to be disastrous. At Christmas, Dusko Ivanovic came to the team to impose his character and his rage and change the face of the team completely. To injuries, illusion. To defeat, overcoming. Thus, also in this final, a Baskonia was shown who is worthy champion, for his work and commitment, of this Endesa League that escaped Barça despite dominating much of the final.
With a partial 17-2 riding the first and second quarter, Barça went 26-17 up with a triple from Thomas Heurtel (21 points) who was the best of his own. But the irregularity in the shot, the inability to close the defensive rebound and stop Vildoza and Shengelia, condemned a Barça that did not choose well at decisive moments. Perhaps he trusted too much in Mirotic, who started as a shot but ended up eliminated and with only 8 points, condemning, in part, his own.
Lesson learned for Baskonia, who lost to Barça in the group stage (81-75). The team from Vitoria improved in defense, dried up the key men of Barça and only Heurtel stood out in attack. The score and the rhythm, both low, helped a Baskonia that, with Dusko Ivanovic, smiles again. In his third stage on the bench, the Montenegrin adds his third league of the four that the club has.
He tried to destabilize Svetislav Pesic in the pre-match, in the photo shoot with the trophy organized by ACB. “Play a little, because later you don’t know”, Pesic commented smiling at his colleague, who ignored it and, alerted to the bad luck of touching it before a final, he did not approach. Yes, it was played by a Pesic who, at 70, runs out of his third league and, after winning two Copa del Rey in the previous two seasons, closes this blank, winning nothing and with one more year of contract.
– Result: Barça, 67 – Kirolbet Baskonia, 69 (39-33, at halftime).
Barça: Hanga (3), Higgins (14), Claver (4), Mirotic (8) and Tomic (2) –five initial–; Davies (4), Heurtel (21), Oriola (3), Abrines (-) and Kuric (8).
Kirolbet Baskonia: Vildoza (17), Henry (2), Shields (9), Shengelia (14) and Eric (2) –five initial–; Janning (8), Diop (10), Granger (-), Dragic (3) and Polonara (4).
–Partial: 16-17, 23-16, 12-18 and 16-18.
–Referees: Peruga, Hierrezuelo and Conde. They eliminated Mirotic at Barça.
–Pavilion: Source of San Luis.