Basketball toasts Unicaja, Copa del Rey champion | Sports

Copa del Rey – final – working day 1

lenovo tenerife

lenovo tenerife


What does it matter if Madrid did not play. And what if Barça was not there. The Cup closed in Badalona with a stupendous final between two great teams, two examples of the good sporting health of Spanish basketball despite the gulf between the piggy banks of the two great soccer fans and the rest of the ACB. Unicaja Málaga won (80-83), which secured its second cup title after the one held 18 years ago in Zaragoza. But we must also toast the Lenovo Tenerife, a sign that doing things well usually has a reward. Nothing to detract from the island team, no matter how much their coach, Txus Vidorreta, considers himself a Poulidor. Sometimes being second is also winning.

It was an unprecedented final, the first in 14 years without Madrid or Barça, and the crown went to the team that knocked out the two giants. MVP for Tyson Carter. And the success of Ibon Navarro, the 46-year-old coach from Vitoria who is celebrating his first season in Malaga after several apprenticeship courses (assistant to Ivanovic, Spahija and Scariolo, among others) and a tour of Baskonia, Manresa, Murcia and Andorra as head coach. .

Two thrown teams collided in the Olympic. For each troop it was a golden opportunity, an appointment with their history. The showcases do not usually open in those who pedal at the wheel of the greats. And neither will there be many occasions when Madrid and Barça bend the knee at the same time with a title on the table. Tenerife and Unicaja surrendered in those first minutes to a very even confrontation, with small round-trip incomes. Probably because they are groups with a similar suit, supportive and hungry, little given to egos, and the image of their coaches. Everyone knows what their role is. Everyone knows in which direction to row. Those who best describe this trade union DNA are guys like Jaime Fernández, Alberto Díaz and Darío Brizuela, the three Eurobasket champions. Around him the other pieces moved. Kravish was still plugged in after surviving the colossus Tavares in the semifinals, Perry sprinted against Fitipaldo, Salin and Barreiro sharpened their wrists, Fernández and Díaz dived from triple (16-17).

Every span was discussed on the outside (Marcelinho-Díaz) and on the inside (Shermadini-Kravish). Brizuela tried to wake up with his first goal in an agile match, from one board to another with few steps and passes, both teams direct to the hoop with their cocktail of penetrations, counterattacks and a fast movement of the ball in search of the lone shooter. It was one block against another, a match in front of the mirror (23-24).

At Unicaja the engine was started by Alberto Díaz. He is a man for everything. The red-haired point guard runs, rebounds and scores. He looks like he has four hands. Tenerife responded with the baton of Marcelinho, a young man of 39 years, and a defense with few cracks that caused a momentary drought in Malaga: two points in three and a half minutes (33-26). Ibon Navarro’s group charged triple until Kalinoski sang bingo and returned the first name to the match. The afternoon moved in gusts. To one arreón another responded. In the middle of that game of chess, a prize was awarded if a piece detached from the coach’s hand and moved on its own initiative. A Llull-style triple by Marcelinho led to the break with the Canaries an inch ahead (39-37). Everything in the air in the final of the modest.

Alberto Díaz, after the final.
Alberto Díaz, after the final.Alejandro Garcia (EFE)

Brizuela emerged with a couple of sparks, the mark of such an effervescent player. At Unicaja, Shermadini grew enormously, multiplying in one painting and in the other for the kick and the score. The veteran Georgian giant (33 years old, 2.17m) was also chasing his particular glory in a race already with many kilometers. Like Marcelinho. The Brazilian pawn joined his colleague to open another small bite on the scoreboard (53-44). Vidorreta rewarded his warriors with a bit of air on the bench. There was a lot of film left and the helm was inherited by Fitipaldo. Malaga’s resistance was a matter of the inexhaustible sweat of Alberto Díaz and the marksmanship of Kalinoski and Carter. There was no way anyone was going to land a terminal right hand: 60-60 to close out the third quarter. The title, in 10 minutes.

Point up, point down. Tenerife already lived in the hands of Marcelinho, a sprinter who moved through each box chasing a crack for the check. The game was in his head. In his jump shots and his excursions into the heart of the zone, and in his connections with Shermadini. He spared not a drop of effort until he was out of breath. The Canarian team had left their soul, but in that deployment their legs stopped reaching every corner. And Unicaja found the free tiles. Carter, Barreiro and Osetkowski hammered from the perimeter for a run with the goal in sight (69-77 with three minutes remaining). Marcelinho returned to ally with Jaime Fernández and Shermadini and give another stroke of pride. But opposite was another soldier. One who likes to help without getting credit. Three defensive actions by Alberto Díaz (a rebound, a free kick and a steal), the kind that don’t sell, the kind that don’t show up in the videos, supported Unicaja. It was the hallmark of a champion team.


Lenovo Tenerife: Fitipaldo (3), Salin (7), Cook (3), Doornekamp (3) and Shermadini (20) —starting five—; Jaime Fernández (16), S. Rodríguez (0), Marcelinho Huertas (21), Abromaitis (3) and Fran Guerra (4).

Unicaja Malaga: Perry (6), Carter (17), Ejim (3), Barreiro (8) and Kravish (8) —starting five—; Osetkowski (9), Kalinoski (14), Brizuela (7), Alberto Díaz (6) and Thomas (5).

Partial: 16-17, 23-20, 21-23 and 20-23.

Referees: Emilio Pérez Pizarro, Benjamin Jimenez and Fernando Calatrava.

Olympic of Badalona. 11,458 viewers.

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