FCB Regal - Herbalife Gran Canària

The Liga Endesa semi-final play-off series is under way. Barça Regal are at home in the Palau Blaugrana against Herbalife Gran Canària on Friday night (21.00, Teledeporte) in game one, and the side standing between FCB and the final, coached by Pedro Martínez, already know what it’s like to beat the Catalans.

The Palau factor

Winning games one and two at the Palau Blaugrana would get FCB off to a great start ahead of the games at Gran Canària, a side that has won its last two meetings with Barça Regal. They won 70-73 at the Palau and 81-69 at home. The players know this won’t be easy and have called on the fans to pack the Palau.

Gran Canària come into the semis after a surprise win against Laboral Kutxa, second in the regular season, in the third and final match of their series. After Barça, they were the best defensive side of the regular season.

Gran Canària, a solid block

There is a lot to be feared about today’s visitors. Tomás Bellas is the centre of operations on the perimeter and a veritable master of playmaking and controlling the pace of the game. Ryan Toolson is a nightmare for rival defences, he scores with ease and is particularly dangerous due to his immense speed, although his presence this evening is in doubt because of injury. Those two form a trio with Brad Newley, a more physical but less skilful player than Toolson, but still lethal when penetrating the defence and also a sharp-shooter from longer distances.

On the paint, Eulis Báez and Spencer Nelson are two versatile players, quick and skilful with the ball in their hands. They can throw from anywhere on the court and use their agility to break away from more powerful defenders and are hard to stop scoring whenever they get near the basket.

Good play-off record

FC Barcelona Regal and Herbalife Gran Canària have met twice before in the playoffs, both in the quarter finals and both won by Barcelona. The first was in 2003/04, with FCB taking the series 3-1, and in 2009/10, Barça swept it 2-0.

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