Valencia Basket, which only six years ago was in the second category of Spanish basketball, is the new league champion. Rubén Burgos’s team won the final 2-0, after a superb second half in Würzburg, the legendary Perfumerías Avenida pavilion, with a reputation for being impregnable (69-81). The management of Cristina Ouviña, somewhat depressed throughout the season, and the colossal figure of Raquel Carrera (20 points, eight rebounds and a PIR of 28) exalted a club that aspires to start the third reign of Valencian basketball, as Dorna Godella (six consecutive titles between 1991 and 1996) and Ros Casares (which won eight between 2001 and 2012) did in their day. Perhaps this is the decade of the third link, Valencia Basket.
Würzburg is a pavilion where only 3,000 spectators can fit, a matchbox without architectural fanfare, but Würzburg is also a field where 3,000 people who sit in their seats cheer for forty minutes. A constant, deafening noise that ends up becoming suffocating. That noise, in reality, is only noise for Valencia or for any team that passes through Salamanca: for Perfumerías Avenida it is music by Bach. That feeling is exacerbated when the charro team presses as in the start of this second round of the final. So, Würzburg is hell.
Perfumerías, with a shorter squad and without a second chance after falling at La Fonteta in the first game, knew that their options were to put pressure on their rival from the first second. And he complied. Valencia Basket did not know how to score. Pepe Vázquez’s players did not concede a single easy basket, nor a moment of relaxation. Noise and pressure in defense that distressed a team that conceded too many second options in the first quarter and that led them to have a cushion of points that cushioned Valencia’s moments of inspiration.
The psychological blow, to which they added the presence from the beginning of Carleton, fell on the first day, was accused by Valencia, which was twelve points down (28-16). There were only two paths there: let yourself be overwhelmed or wait for a leader to come to the rescue. That is what Cris Ouviña did, the point guard from Zaragoza who led a first comeback for Valencia Basket thanks to a 0-9 run. Mariella Fasoula, daughter of a European basketball legend like Panagiotis Fasoulas, was Perfumerías Avenida’s response at the end of the second quarter in a few minutes in which her duel with Raquel Carrera (10 points for the Greek versus 13 for the Galician at halftime) were most brilliant.
In the second half, Cris Ouviña grew to take the wheel of the final. The Perfumeries began to accuse the passage of time. His rotation is lower and, logically, he was losing steam. His downturn was oxygen for his opponent, which he began to believe. So much so that at the start of the last quarter he regained control on the scoreboard that he had only had after the initial break (59-60).
Burgos was able to rest Ouviña and Carrera – she went to the bench to be treated for shoulder pain – and arrived with the fullest team at the end of the second game. With eight minutes to go, she got them back. The Valencian coach brought out his most inspired players, among whom was Elena Buenavida, a young foreigner of only 19 years of age who this season has shown the personality and talent necessary to gain a foothold in a team that aspires to all the titles. A triple of hers in the most intoned moments of Valencia put the maximum difference for her team at that moment (61-66). Buenavida, who seemed relegated to her role as a secant, has grown so much that she is capable of pairing up with Vilaró or Cazorla, two torments, and scoring important baskets.
Carrera, Buenavida and Awa Fam, the jewel of the quarry, a tremendous center of only 16 years old, are the argument of Valencia Basket to dream of a new era. The first League title has already fallen, although it did so with Würzburg on its feet applauding its team, present in its seventeenth consecutive final.
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