The most awaited day is now here for the great family of CB Gran Canaria. Almost four and a half months ago that the Claretian club achieved for the first time in its history the classification for the most important competition at the club level after the NBA. I entered through the big door at the Olympus of continental basketball after defeating the Valencia Basket in the flag of La Fonteta in the third match of the series of quarterfinals of the Endesa League. Since that milestone was achieved, everyone was looking forward to the boast of the Euroleague cockade. And the date indicated is today. On October 12, 2018 will remain forever in the annals.
And the calendar has wanted the debut of the Herbalife occur in one of the temples of the basket continental, the always hot Ulker Sports Arena in Istanbul, and against a rival designated as one of the favorites to fight for the title, the Fenerbahçe, finalist the last three seasons and champion in the 2016-17 academic year.
Duel on totally uneven paper. By potential staff, budget and historical weight, the Granca is a clear loser in all bets. Something logical, on the other hand. Of course, do not lose hope that on the court they play five against five and that in the sport more incredible things have been seen.
The Herbalife reaches its debut in the Euroleague still half done. The difficulties that the team has experienced since the beginning of the preseason prevented the yellow machinery from being well-oiled at this point of the year.
The hosts of Salva Maldonado They appear in the Ottoman capital with the intention of continuing to take steps forward in their preparation, and with something more moral after inaugurating last Sunday their winning box after winning the Cafés Candelas Breogán at the Arena. A triumph that mitigated the seven previous defeats, five in pre-season and two in the opening days of the Endesa League.
The coach of the yellow team made it clear in the preview: "We are building the team, in that phase we are and so we will continue whatever happens". Above, the situation of the Gran Canaria table is aggravated by the physical state of some of its main exponents. Marcus Eriksson enters for the first time in a call this campaign after his operation on the knee and Chris Evans It is serious doubt because of problems in an ankle.
The dilemma that arises is whether to risk with them, especially when the Granca await frantic days after the clash against Fenerbahçe: on Sunday in Malaga against Unicaja; on Tuesday against Barça in the Euroleague Arena; on Thursday against Panathinaikos in Athens also in the continental tournament; and on Saturday at home he receives Andorra.
With these arguments, the Herbalife will try to stand up to a real team. Directed from the bench by the laureate Zeljko Obradovic, a myth that collects Euroleague titles. Take nine with five different teams. Nor the economic problems that currently affect the basketball Turkish and the entity in particular have undermined the potential of one of the most traditional European clubs.
The Fenerbahçe maintains a large part of the heavy artillery with which he had last season, and on top has been reinforced with players of the highest level coming from the NBA itself.
To names like those of Kostas Sloukas, Luigi Datome, Jan Vesely, Ali Muhammed – former Bobby Dixon- or Nicolo Melli are now joined by Joffrey Lauvergne, French center who returns to Europe after not running with luck in his American adventure – he played in the Denver Nuggets, Oklahoma Thunder, Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs-, and Tyler Ennis, Canadian base with great scoring power that comes from the Lakers.