Copa del Rey – final – working day 1
“Head, head”, Barreiro and Ibon Navarro asked Alberto Díaz, who nodded confidently when the duel had few sighs left. And although his wrist failed him, since he missed both free throws, on the next play he stole the ball and gave an assist to Osetkowski that was worth gold because it made it 72-80 with one minute to go. Applause and hugs on the Unicaja bench, who found in Alberto Díaz the best conductor, the perfect captain. Perhaps not the best scorer, but a point guard who does everything else, intense, passer, intelligent, the extension of the bench on the court made person, and the glue of the team that plays the decisive moments, since Perry had always counted on more minutes in the previous duels but not when the victory was at stake.
“We have a human group that has shown that nobody can beat us. It’s something that looks like a movie. We have a brutal chemistry”, resolved Alberto Díaz, who explained the words with deeds. It turns out that on Friday, after beating Barcelona, Alberto told his great friend Darío Brizuela, also a roommate at the hotel these days, that they would share the moment of raising the cup if they conquered it. Madrid was ahead and who knew what rival in the final. “I have insisted that he do it alone, but he did not want to. He knows what I’m going through and because of things like these, he’s one of my best friends,” revealed Brizuela, who did not want to extend any further because he has his newborn son in the ICU, although he was already out of danger from what they are saying. from your environment. Thus, both players grabbed and rocked the Cup and then raised it in unison while an abundant shower of golden confetti flooded the track and all of Unicaja celebrated their second Cup in history with overflowing enthusiasm, 18 years later.
“Hopefully this will serve to reaffirm the project, to continue believing in it… This is the first step, but we must continue,” agreed the coach Ibon Navarro, who attended the press conference with his son by the hand and wearing new clothes because the players were waiting for him in the dressing room to shower him with water and beer. Something that Txus Vidorreta, a Lenovo technician, sees as possible, his excellent sportsmanship: “I want to congratulate Unicaja. They have been the best in the tournament and the fair winners. It was a challenge for us to play 40 minutes to the fullest in this final and the three games in less than 50 hours have weighed on us”. Compliment that was back. “The Lenovo is a mirror in which we look at ourselves. They have a project that improves every year and they are faithful to an idea. All the honors and respects for them”, replied Navarro.
Before that, on the field, the Unicaja players already felt the madness that was about to break out when the game had a few seconds left for the game. dong final. Brizuela covered his face with his hands and Barreiro did it with the towel, nervous and kneeling at the foot of the court because they were already savoring the Cup. Kravish and Djedovic insisted that the game had only a breath left, and Thomas demanded encouragement from the fans, who, always attentive and vitaminic for their own, sang the verse of Your flag by Pablo López: “I always take you with me, I will always be your flag, you don’t play alone if I’m here, because Carpena flies, and Málaga dreams, Unicaja I live for you…”. And it is over.
Then came the chorus in the center of the court of all the Unicaja players, jumping, hugging and the shared chant of “Champions, champions, oé, oé, oé”. Osetkowski, who does not speak Spanish, was crying because he felt the triumph, Ibon Navarro hugged Brizuela for more than a minute and the prop man took out some green t-shirts with the slogan of We are champions. And Alberto, who else, asked Sima —injured but he did not want to miss the party— to lift him up on his shoulders so that he could cut the net from the basket. The same thing Carter did later in the other ring, but he was left halfway because just at that moment they named him the MVP of the tournament. So he got the trophy and a barrage of smacks from his dressing roommates. “We had just lost two games in the ACB and it was time to regroup, to overcome three very tough games and win the cup”, slipped the North American. “It’s that here we go to death for our teammates,” added Díaz, who pointed to the coach as the plunger: “Ibon is the architect of all this.”
The coach picked up the baton, who couldn’t stop laughing but who, coherently, admitted that his happiest day was with the birth of his son. “A year ago, perhaps you did not believe that this would happen, but when you come here you know that you have to win three games and we have done it against the best,” he started; “But this is possible because if something prevails in this group it is the lack of ego. We all put the team first. So it’s not my merit but to find these people. I say people and not players. There is a lot of work in the search and the good thing is that it has fit ”. And, proud, he stressed: “A cook cannot make a good recipe if he does not have good food and it is very good.”
The party in the dressing room was epic, as everyone wanted to savor a victory that few could imagine because the two best teams in the ACB were on the way. “It’s a feat, Málaga deserved it after so many years of suffering,” Díaz defended. And the coach seconded him: “If this is possible it is because of the union of the group, because of how they have understood each other. This really is the closest thing to a family.” And, delivered, he finished: “At the risk of sounding like an American technician, I want to say that I love you very much. It’s the truth”. And that love, understanding and basketball was worth it to win the Copa del Rey.
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