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Barça Regal gave another display of character, pride and quality to beat hosts Caja Laboral on Saturday night in the Copa Del Rey semi-final in Vitoria – their second brilliant display in three days following the win over Madrid on Thursday. It was a close fought game with Barça only putting their stamp on the game in the final ten minutes, when they scored 25 points to Caja Laboral’s 12. Once more, the team were colossal in defence and with Navarro in top form in attack, they ended up beating the hosts by a clear eleven points.
Barça Regal were again called on to put in a hard evening’s work in Vitoria following their epic quarter final win over Madrid on Thursday. Physically and mentally, the game demanded 100% in defence and although Navarro was back and scoring five points early on (9-7, min 5), the team lacked cohesion in the first quarter and soon found themselves 16-7 down as Nocioni did damage on the inside and from the exterior for the hosts.
Oleson, ‘on fire’
Pascual called a time-out and brought on Jawai, Marcelinho and Oleson, which brought about a reaction from Barça who drew to 19-15 on 9 minutes, with Barça’s new signing getting three straight three pointers. With the game swinging from end to end, Barça began to impose some order thanks in large part to Tomic who took them to a 28-31 lead on 15 minutes, which caused Tabak to call his own time out.
Close fought third quarter
San Emeterio and Nemanja Bjelica hit back for Caja Laboral and on 19 minutes, the Basques were again ahead (37-32). However, Barça came back after the break and were 39-42 up on 22 minutes. Neither team were able to really push ahead as the lead changed hands and Pascual stuck with his starting five, hardly using Huertas, Oleson or Jawai at all, with Navarro proving decisive in keeping the team in the game (57-55).
Final ten minutes wins the game
The atmosphere was electric as both teams strained to snatch the advantage, but it was the visitors, with two three pointers from Navarro and Rabaseda who began to open up a lead (57-65, min 35) as they scored 10 points without reply at the start of the final quarter.
Caja Laboral desperately tried to cut the distance with three pointers, but Barça had the bit between their teeth now and despite injuries to Lorbek, Jawai and Oleson in the final minutes, Navarro’s 20 points proved too much for Caja Laboral, who, like Madrid before them, were unable to respond to Barça’s strength and character , as the Catalans won their way into a fourth consecutive final.
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