Barça’s basketball team clinched a spot in the final of the Liga Endesa after defeating Valencia Basket in game five of the semi-final series. The men managed by Xavi Pascual battled back from an 11-point deficit thanks to extraordinary third quarter performances from Marcelinho Huertas, Ante Tomic and Juan Carlos Navarro. Huertas, who finished the game with 22 points, fired his team into the final with a buzzer beater in the final quarter.
In fact, it was Huertas who led Barça in the first quarter. He scored the first seven points for the blaugrana in the opening minutes of a very equal match. Valencia, led by Doellman, managed to create a four-point gap on two occasions, but Barça fought back to keep the home team within striking distance. The quarter came to an end with 20 to 18.
A three pointer from Sato, at the start of the second quarter, hit a three pointer and put his team up by five. Papanikolau hit back with a three point of his own. Tomic slowly got into the game and fired for six consecutive points, which allowed Barça to keep the gap between the two teams to a minimum. But Valencia were determined to take the game, and quickly jumped to a nine point lead before the break.
Huertas, Tomic and Navarro, at the start of the third quarter, took the game to Valencia Basket. Between them they scored 27 points, and thus fired Barça into the lead. Tomic and Huertas were on superb form and led the blaugrana to on a 4 to 11 run. At the end of the quarter, Barça lead 57 to 61.
The final quarter was representative of the excitement we’ve seen throughout this semi-final series. Barça, strong on defence, didn’t alls Valencia to grasp the ticket to the final. With nine seconds left on the clock, the scoreboard read 75 to 75. That’s when Marcelinho stepped up and fired in the last second to score a two-pointer. FC Barcelona will take on Madrid on Thursday in the final of the Liga Endesa.