FC Barcelona battled hard for a place in the Copa del Rey final, but it will be Valencia Basket that face Real Madrid in Sunday’s showpiece eventafter winning today’s semi-final 67-76. Veteran performances from Rafa Martínez and San Emeterio, and sharp shooting from Dubljevic and Oriola proved decisive in the third period, when Barça were unable to capitalise on a decent start.
Tomic (17) and Koponen (16) topped the Barça Lassa scoring, and the side now has to regroup and start thinking about a crunch EuroLeague game with Emporio Armani on Thursday. Perperoglou, with a right ankle problem, was a late dropout on Saturday.
It wasn’t spectacular hoops, but it was effective, as Barça broke Valencia’s early dominance to combine threes, defence and rebounds to go +9 (38-29).
With a 42% three-point conversion rate in the first twenty minutes, Barça well able to contain a 0-7 streak against their interests. Five from eight, including three from Vezenkov, were doing the trick in the second period, while limiting Valencia to a paltry 2/15 in field goals. Barça were leading by double figures at one point, and reached the interval in strong command at 38-29.
But Barça just couldn’t get things going in the third. Three consecutive threes from Rafa Martínez suddenly had his team in front, and with Dubljevic, Oriola and Rafa getting 7, 9 and 10 points in a dazzling period, Valencia had powered from -9 to +11.
A buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Koponen meant the final period started 51-59, and with three to play Barça had got back to within five. But Valencia knew how to make their lead count, while Barça paid for some late mistakes and ended up bowing out of the contest.