Navarro ha tornat a ser clau per aconseguir el pas a la final de la Lliga / FOTO: ARXIU FCB

Barça Regal won the fourth match of the semifinal playoff series away to Valencia Basket (73-77) and clinched a place in the Liga Endesa final. Barça Regal will play against the winner of the Real Madrid and Caja Laboral semifinal series. The fifth and final match of their semifinal will be played this Saturday on Madrid’s court.

Serious start from the Azulgranas

Barça Regal was playing their first match-ball of the series and this is why the Azulgrana players came flying out of the gates, especially on defence. With Juan Carlos Navarro on the bench, Lorbek and Eidson were the two men charged with setting the pace of the match. While Barça Regal looked to score quickly, the Valencia team were forced to take their shots from the three point line thanks to Barça’s intense defence. Perasovic’s men were not on target in the first quarter and the Azulgranas were intent on scooping up any rebound. That said, Barça were not able to finish out the first quarter with an ample lead (18-20).

Free throws and rebounds, key factors before the break

Barça Regal attempted up the tempo and impose a fast pace on the game before the half in order to put some distance between themselves and Valencia Basket but the errors, from both sides, didn’t allow it. After the first minute of the second quarter, Valencia Basket drew level on 20 points. Pascual’s men did well to weather the pressure from La Fonteta as they quickly grabbed the largest lead of the quarter (8 points) with three minutes to go before the break. The team’s excellent free throw conversion rate was key in keeping the distance with Valencia Basket. But a lost possession from Ingles followed by a three pointer from De Colo got Valencia back in the match (27-31). Pascual’s men went to the break with a four-point cushion (29-33).

Hard fought third quarter

At the start of the second half, Valencia Basket came out knowing full well that they needed to give it their all if they wanted to force a fifth game. Barça Regal were trying to stay in the game after a 9-2 run from the home side in the first two minutes of quarter. The Azulgranas needed to take control of the match again if they wanted to finish off the series but Valencia Basket didn’t make it easy for them. It was a tough match on hostile ground, but Barça Regal demonstrated their mental fortitude as they kept on fighting. In fact, the Catalans finished out the quarter with a narrow one-point lead (50-51).

Heart stopping fourth quarter

The match looked like it was going to be decided in the last minutes of the fourth quarter. With four minutes to go, De Colo scored eight points and put his team in the diver’s seat (66-64). The Azulgranas, however, weren’t ready to give up, but a lost ball from Navarro, and a subsequent basket from Valencia Basket, with a minute and a half left took the scoreline to 72-68. The Barça captain amended his error and sunk a three pointer, Barça’s first in the whole game. The Azulgrana players waited Valencia Basket out and they ended up winning the match by 73 to 75. With a final berth secured Barça awaits a rival.


Valencia Basket, 73

FCB Regal, 77

Valencia Basket (18+11+21+23): San Miguel (4) Martínez (11) Claver (4), Caner-Medley (15) , Faverani (11) -starting five- Ogilvy (-), Newley (2) Pietrus (4), De Colo (22)' and Dean (-).

Barcelona Regal (20+13+18+26): Huertas (6), Eidson (4), Mickeal (14), Lorbek (8), Ndong (9), -starting five- Sada (4), Navarro (17), Vázquez (4), Wallace (9), Ingles (2), and Rabaseda (-).

Referees: Pérez Pizarro, García, O. and Peruga.

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