Xavi Pascual’s men win their ACB match in the final quarter in a hard-fought match against Valencia Basket
The Azulgranas set themselves up for success in the second quarter but the visitors’ reaction made for an exciting finish
FC BARCELONA REGAL 76 (17+29+14+16)
Sada (12). Huertas (10), Navarro (17), Perovic (4), Vázquez (7), Wallace (9), Ingles (7), Rabaseda (-), lorbek (6), Eidson (5), Mickeal (-).
VALÈNCIA BASKET 72 (23+10+22+17)
Markovic (2), Ogilvy (8), Newley (-), Claver (4), Faverani (16), Rafa Martínez (13), Pietrus (3), De Colo (18), Kuksis (-), Caner-Medley (8), San Miguel (-).
Barça Regal changed gears as they transitioned out of Euroleague play back into the Liga Endesa. The Catalan team took the Palau Blaugrana on an emotional roller coaster before claiming a hard-fought victory over Valencia Basket (76-72). After a first quarter dominated by Los Che, Barça slowly but surely fought back to keep the visiting team at bay.
Valencia come out swinging
After Fran Vázquez’ initial basket, again in the starting line-up due to Ndong’s injury, Valencia Basket, led by Vladimir Perasovic on the bench, stormed the home side and went on a 0-9 run. Marcelinho Huertas was the only Barça player able to stem the visitors’ tide as he sunk two three-pointers to keep Xavi Pascual’s men in the game (8-13). Two personal fouls from Navarro and two unlucky offensive plays for Barça allowed Valencia to continue their onslaught; they finished out the quarter with a 17-23 in favour taking advantage of their heigh over the Azulgranas who were sorely missing Ndong.
Perfect second quarter
Wallace’s three-pointer at the end of the first quarter carried his team into the second, Barça were much more dynamic and intense. With Víctor Sada and Joe Ingles taking the reigns, the Barça team managed to bring equality to the scoreboard against a Valencia that was having trouble on offence. Starting from the defence, growing stronger as minutes ticket off the clock, Barça Regal was offering up their best moments on the court - the crescendo on an alley-oop finished off by Vázquez, it also meant Barça had taken eight-point lead (35-27). The visitors weren’t showing any sign of mounting a comeback, and Barça was determined to increase their lead. The second quarter came to an end with 46-33 on the scoreboard after Barça has outscored their rivals 29-10 in the quarter.
De Colo takes charge
Barça came out with the same attitude at start of the second half but they were met with the same Valencia from the first quarter. Perasovic’s men took advantage of their quick counterattacks and their defence was operating with more intensity. Even though Ingles, who had a great game, broke the visitors’ 0-9 run with a three-pointer which kept Barça at a distance of 10 points, Los Che refused to give up on the match. De Colo brought his side within five points with a three-point shot that gave way to a very intense final 10 minutes.
The stars settle the match
A three-pointer from Pietrus in the first seconds of the final quarter level both sides at 60 points apiece. It was time for Barça Regal’s best players to take the stage. Sada, Lorbek and Navarro brought a bit of respite from the Valencia onslaught by taking the score to 70-66 with less than four minutes left in the game. Valencia kept on trying but a good Barça defence and a three-pointer from Navarro with one minute left sealed the victory for the home side. Barça Regal, with this result, maintain their position at the top of the Liga Endesa.