Gran Canaria caresses the feat (86-88)

Barça's American pivot, Brandon Davies, against the Senegalese from Gran Canaria, Khalifa Diop. / EFE

The Claretian team had Barça against the ropes and had options to win, but Higgins decided on the buzzer at the Arena. The defending champion advances to the semifinals

Oliver Suarez Armas

Gran Canaria, which started with Andrew Albicy, AJ Slaughter, Nicolás Brussino, John Shurna and Khalifa Diop, showed ambition on both sides of the court from the first stages of the match to fight for their chances of forcing the third game of the series quarterfinals, with an imperial Senegalese tower in the paint -nine points and two rebounds- (12-8, min. 5).

Porfi Fisac's team, with a high pace to be able to run -four assists- and with the padlock on their rim to control the rebound -ten- and not allow second chances, held the pulse of a Barça that intended to close the tie for the fast track, but, as in the first round at the Palau Blaugrana, the yellows wanted a war against the defending champion and the leader of the regular phase (16-11).

Without exterior success by both teams -16% for each one-, Granca offered clairvoyance in decision-making and forcefulness in the area -60% success in shots from two- to dominate at the end of the first quarter (18- fifteen).

Balcerowski extended the yellow dream against the delirium of the Gran Canaria Arena (20-15), but Jasikevicius' squad, with the promising Jokubaitis at the controls, improved in direction and found solutions in the paint to turn the score around (24-28 ). But Granca was plugged in, with Chery growing in the Playoff, Ennis machine-gunning from the outside and Khalifa Diop -15 points and three rebounds at halftime- commanding the heights (34-30, min. 15).

The Claretians did not take their foot off the accelerator, exhibiting a superlative level of ideas at a collective level (42-36). The most choral version was liked against Barça. Albicy led and Shurna and Brussino executed to dream of the break (46-41).

After passing through the changing rooms, Fisac's pupils continued to be plugged in, with Albicy and Slaughter in tune in the direction and Shurna punishing in the open field, forcing Jasikevicius to stop the Claretian cyclone (50-41).

ambition mode

Pustovyi took the witness to execute in the paint and place the maximum income in a boiling Siete Palmas enclosure (54-44, min. 23).

Mirotic and Higgins held a Barça team against the ropes, but also the highly questionable arbitration decisions, which led to blowing up Granca's advantage in less than a minute (54-53).

The local dominance vanished right in its best minutes, seeing its devilish rhythm slowed down by the contacts that the referee trio now did not forgive. Granca withstood the blow (60-55), but two consecutive three-pointers from Laprovittola and Mirotic, together with the insular precipitation, gave the visiting team the lead (60-63).

Ennis lit up the Arena with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to go ahead in the final act. There were ten minutes left to dream (66-63). Salvó joined the party with another triple to increase the decibels in the Arena (69-63) and another came from Ennis from Canada (72-65).

Granca had fun, Chery wanted more party and Stevic increased his presence in the area, signing a partial 16-3 (76-66). Jasikevicius did not hit the key, but the capital pieces emerged to tie the duel at 78 points in a breath, motivated by his level of success and the Claretian blackout.

Slaughter and Shurna came to the rescue in a heart-stopping ending (81-80, min. 38). A Granca with honor and pride to believe until the end. Without Ennis or Chery on the track in the last section, the two leaders of a devastating partial favorable to Granca, Barça played their tricks better, which are many and varied, to impose their law and caress to close the series (81-84) .

Fisac ​​remembered the Canadian outsider and he tightened the electronics with 18 seconds to go (83-84), but Mirotic did not spare from the free throw line (83-86). The mission seemed finished, but Ennis converted a triple to the board that put the Arena on its feet (86-86). There were four seconds left and, despite Ennis's good defense, Higgins scored at the buzzer for the cruelest ending (86-88).

Granca competed in both matches and perhaps offered arguments to knock down their rival, but they stayed on the edge of the feat. He concludes the eighteenth Claretian presence in the Playoff with his head held high.

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