Xavi Pascual pre-semifinals press conference / PHOTO: ÁLEX CAPARRÓS - FCB

The Barça Regal manager Xavi Pascual warned that the semi-final playoff of the Liga Endesa against Valencia Basket will be “truly difficult,” seeing that the team led by Velimir Perasovic “is an aggressive, intense team  and their players are very active on defence.” With that said, the Barça manager called on the Palau Blaugrana faithful to cheer on Barça Regal in the first match of the series this Thursday at 21:45. “It’s a key moment in the season,” said Pascual, who hope that “it’ll be one of these days that the Palau fills up to watch us take on a fantastic rival.” He added, “we all have to work in order to achieve success in this series.”

With home-court advantage, Pascual places high value on winning the first match of the series. “Winning the first match is vital because it will be difficult in Valencia.” According to the manager, a victory in tomorrow’s match “is key because it will allow us to look to the future with optimism and go into the second match in a favourable situation.”

Control the rebound

Pascual believes that Valencia Basket will not be negatively affected by playing their last quarter-final match this Wednesday. On his team’s game plan, the manager said that it will be vital to control the rebound: “we have try and not lose balls. We need to be calm, be aggressive on offence, but keeping our wits, so we don’t lose the ball. We need to control the rebound and, from that point, impose our rhythm.”

Sada: “Valencia are on form”

Víctor Sada agrees with his manager, especially because Valencia Basquet are enjoying some of the best form they’ve had all season. “They are a team that are on form. They are a young and ambitious team, their style of play is very aggressive both on offence and defence.” He expects a “very complicated game,” the semi-finals will be “a like a war. Therefore, we want to start off on the right foot.”

Sada also explained that he’s placing a lot of value on this title due to the fact that Barça Regal were eliminated from the King’s Cup and the Euroleague. “We have the Cup and Euroleague experiences to draw from and we are eager to prove what we can do. The players are very eager and we’re very aware of what’s at stake. There’s positive pressure.”

Navarro's debut in the playoffs

Pascual explained that Juan Carlos Navarro, who missed quarter-final series against Lucentum Alicante due to injury, is doubtful for the first match against Valencia. The manager went on to say that if the player does play that “he’ll be below his normal level.”

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