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Barça Regal took the first game in the quarter-final best-of-five series against Panathinaikos this evening at the Palau Blaugrana. Jasikevicius led the Blaugrana in the first three quarters od the match, Navarro and especially Víctor Sada took care of the rest.
First quarter forces Barça to play catch-up in the second
Panathinaikos sunk three three-pointers as they went on a 0 to 14 run in the first quarter, while Barça Regal struggled to find their composure on the court. Only eight minutes had passed and Panathinaikos has jumped to a monumental 9 to 21 lead.
Navarro and Huertas sparked Barça’s comeback in the second quarter with one three-pointer apiece. The Blaugrana showed themselves to be more fluid on the court and now it was Panathinaikos’ turn to feel the heat (they went three minutes without scoring). Jasikevicius guided his teammates to a one-point lead after only three minutes of play in the second quarter. The Blaugrana traded blow for blow with Panathinaikos until the end of the quarter, which ended with 34 to 32 on the scoreboard.
The third quarter was a repeat of the first. Panathinaikos started taking shots from the permitter with devastating accuracy and the Catalans were kept out of the paint. The Greek side had gone on a 2-11 run halfway through the third quarter (36-43), while Barça struggled to find the basket (1/12 field goals in the quarter).
Jasikevicius stepped up once again to right Barça’s course. The teams went into the final quarter of the match with 43 to 47 on the board.
Heart stopping finish
Barça Regal needed to put in a heroic effort, and that’s exactly what they did. Víctor Sada kept the fans at the Palau on their feet as he stopped Diamantidis on defence and fired away on the other end of the court. Navarro also stepped up when his team needed him most. A three-pointer from the Barça Regal captain and another from Saras brought Barça Regal level with five minutes to go (60-60).
Neither side scored from the 35th minute through the 38th, and that’s when Sada took center stage, as did Diamantidis. A fantastic three-pointer from the giant Panathinaikos man tied the game up at 64 apiece. Barça had a chance to kill the matchoff but it wasn’t to be, the game was going to overtime.
Barça Regal claim victory
Navarro hit another three-pointer, a block from Tomic with 24 seconds left on the clock and a foul on Sada at the end looked to be decisive for the Blaugrana. However, Sada missed both of his free throws and Gist, who had had an excellent game, could have brought his team level with three seconds left on the clock, but he missed his attempt. The game came to an end with 72 to 70 on the scoreboard, thus giving Barça the 1-0 lead in the series.
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