Suffering like never before but bagging the win like they always do, Barça Regal were made to sweat for a semi-final berth when they took on Uxue Basket Bilbao this evening at the Palau Blaugrana. The Catalans, who were not comfortable on the court, were made to wait until the final quarter before they managed to pull ahead on the scoreboard. Sarunas Jasikevicius injected his team with a healthy dose of intensity in the final stretch of the match, and it proved enough to see Barça Regal to the next round of the playoffs.
Slow start and a lot of nerves
In the first minutes of the match the two teams were finding it difficult to find the basket. The initial 6-7 after the first five minutes was proof of that, but Lorbek, who came on after the start, got Barça on course and put the Blaugrana in front at the end of the first quarter (22-17).
In the second quarter it was Bilbao Basket who took the initiative. Zizis found the sweet spot from distance as he led his team to a 4 to 12 run over Barça. The second quarter came to an end with 33 to 35 on the scoreboard.
The players started to show their nervousness at the start of the second half. The emotional aspect of the game can’t be understated and it took Barça quite a bit to feel comfortable on the court. Bilbao took their lead to eight points, but Mavrokefalidis, Jasikevicius and Lorbek brought the Blaugrana back within one at the end of the third quarter (49-50).
Jasikevicius changes the game
Two extraordinary three-pointers from Kostas Vasileiadis made it even more difficult for Barça Regal at the start of the final quarter. The Blaugrana, led by Jasikevicius, started circulating the ball with pace and they managed to find open shots. This simple change in tactics gave Barça the lead with six minutes left on the clock (64-56). Xavi Pascual’s men weathered Bilbao’s attempt to fight back as they clinched a well deserved semi-final berth.