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Sarunas Jasikevicius a la Final de l'Eurolliga disputada al Sant Jordi davant La Benetton deTreviso / FOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB

The number 13 has always been associated with Sarunas Jasikevicius in Barça basketball even though the player left the Palau Blaugrana for Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2003. ‘Saras’ defended the Barça colours for three years - from 2000 to 2003 - but he didn’t need much time to win the Palau faithful over. The Lithuanian, one of the Eastern European country’s best off all time, won the hearts of Culés with his character and his devastating accuracy from the three point line.

Long honours list

In the 2000/01 season, Jasikevicius claimed five titles at the Palau. Barça Regal, managed by Aíto García Reneses, won the Copa del Rey and the Liga ACB that year, and Jasikevicius was the driving force behind the team’s success. The Lithuanian scored 13.9 points and gave 2.1 assists on average in the regular season and, in the decisive stretch of the season - during the playoffs- he scored 16.2 points and gave 2 assists per match, ending the post season with an overall evaluation of 15.3.

The Lithuanian’s last season with Barça Regal was historic. The team won the treble and he was named MVP of the ACB final, thanks to his average of 11.5 points per match in the final series. Jasikevicius also lifted the Copa del Rey and helped the team to its first Euroleague crown, with an average of 13.4 points and 3.2 assists in Barça Regal’s 22 continental matches. The team was managed by Svetislav Pesic.

Part of Barça’s Golden Era

Jasikevicius was part of two of the most historic teams in Barça basketball history. In his first year with the Club, he regularly featured in the starting team, and was accompanied by Juan Carlos Navarro, Arturas Karnisovas, Pau Gasol and Roberto Dueñas. In his last year, he featured alongside Navarro, Dejan Bodiroga, Gergor Fucka and Dueñas. The Lithuanian also shared the dressing room with players like Efthimois Rentzias, Rodrigo De la Fuente, Marc Gasol, Nacho Rodríguez and Anderson Varejao.

The Palau remembers Saras

The mutual respect and esteem that Jasikevicius shared with the Palau Blaugrana faithful was evident ech time returned to the court he tearfully left in 2003. Donning the Maccabi Tel Aviv strip, he returned to Barcelona on February 10, 2005, and the Palau gave the Lithuanian a prolonged standing ovation before he scored 21 points in the 25 minutes he was on the court.

That wasn’t the only time Jasikevicius played against his former team. In January and October of 2008, Saras, donning in the Panathinaikos strip, also featured against Barça Regal.

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