Delirium in the Canary Islands: ‘Granca’ wins its first Eurocup and will play in the Euroleague | Sports

CB Gran Canaria has been proclaimed champion of the Eurocup, the second most important European competition, after beating Türk Telekom from Ankara 71-67 in a game that seemed to end after a brilliant first half. The victory will also allow the island team to play in the Euroleague next season. He granca He adds his first European title and his second relevant trophy before his fans, after the Spanish Super Cup that he won in 2016 after overwhelming Barcelona in the final.

In this way, El Granca puts a brilliant finishing touch to a season that began with a revolution in the offices and on the bench. The owner of the club, the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, decided to dismiss the president, Enrique Moreno, and appoint in his place the Senegalese Sitapha Savané, the main sports legend of the entity, founded in 1963: during the 303 games he played in the competition domestically between 2004 and 2012 and between 2015 and 2016, Savané became the top scorer, rebounder and assists leader in the team’s history. The club had already entrusted the leadership on the field to Jaka Lakovic, a Barça player between 2006 and 2011. The Slovenian has managed to forge a compact group, far from individualities, which he has liked during this campaign to bring intensity and sacrifice to the meetings.

Gran Canaria fans cheer on the team during the final this Wednesday at the Gran Canaria Arena.
Gran Canaria fans cheer on the team during the final this Wednesday at the Gran Canaria Arena. QUIQUE CURBELO (EFE)

This was precisely what happened at the Gran Canaria Arena. Granca started the game leading the score, thanks both to the successive errors of the Ankara team, the scarce participation of forward Axel Bouteille and, above all, to the aim shown from the three-point line, which led them to collect several advantages from up to seven points. A time out for Turkish coach Erdem Can — Eurocup coach of the year, who led his team with a neck brace after suffering an accident on the bus that was supposed to take them to training before the game due to, according to his version, a run-in with the driver — managed to reactivate the Turkish defense and thus contain the push of the local team, which ended the first quarter six points up, with six of nine from three pointers.

The start of the second quarter was less showy, plagued as it was by errors in attack and continuous stoppages due to fouls. The local team, however, recovered from the initial turmoil with a splendid group game crowned by John Shurna (voted best player in the final) and AJ Slaughter, the two main local scorers. Türk Telekom could not bring out their defense and were disastrous in attack. With the visiting star, Jerian Grant, tightly controlled, Granca accelerated their game and extended the lead to 22 points. It was then that Bouteille decided to enter the game, who with eight consecutive points reduced the damage for the Turks at halftime (50-33).

The resumption of the game brought with it a script twist. Granca’s inspiration dried up in front of the ring, without movement in the paint, and he began to charge himself with fouls, especially against the inside players. Step by step, Türk closed down the lead with a 11-22 run in the fourth, which left them six down.

  John Shurna from Gran Canaria and Tyrique Jones from Turk Telekom in a play of the match.
John Shurna from Gran Canaria and Tyrique Jones from Turk Telekom in a play of the match.Elvira Urquijo A. (EFE)

The nerves of the last quarter multiplied the errors in both teams. The match entered the territory of the Turks, with little score and struggle under the hoops. A scenario that the visitors did not miss to equalize the score, supported by their strength in the offensive rebound. It was then that Shurna’s figure returned with a providential triple that gave air to his team and managed to face the last two minutes with a five-point lead. The last seconds fulfilled what was expected of a final. Nerves and failures on both sides until reaching the last minutes with this same advantage. Guard Andrew Albicy missed the last two free throws. Just seconds later he made up for his mistake with a providential recovery that allowed him to score a layup that ultimately proved crucial. Gran Canaria is already European.

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