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Víctor Sada celebrates winning game two. PHOTO: ACBPHOTO

The numbers, stats and history dictate that if a team has home court advantage and wins game one, then there’s little that can be done to stop them going on to win the final series. But history is there to be changed, and under Xavi Pascual, Barça Regal now have an excellent chance to complete a superlative comeback. These are players that always refuse to give up, who always believe in their possibilities and who laugh in the face of adversity.

Getting it right

Barça Regal were 14 down in minute 28 of game two (53-39) but never let their heads drop. Xavi Pascual and Juan Carlos Navarro are largely to be thanked for the amazing reaction. The coach adjusted to the zone defence that served him do well in game four of last year’s final series and his team did everything it had to do from then on. Juan Carlos Navarro was especially impressive, leading the team with both words and actions, and ensuring that the Catalans were never totally out of contention as they prepared to bite back.

All important

One of the keys to Barça Regal’s win at the Palacio de Deportes de Madrid was how the final minutes were approached. Everything suggested that Juan Carlos Navarro would take over the main shooting duties, but man himself knew exactly when to assume responsibilities and when to hand them over to somebody else. New arrival Mavrokefalidis bagged five almost consecutive points to get Barça Regal within a point (65-64). Then following an incredible three from Mirotic, Sada found CJ Wallace in the open, and the American sent home a 3-pointer that kept Barça in tight contention (74-73).

For the final play, Navarro wasn’t even on court. It was Brad Oleson who went for the basket, forced a foul and converted both free throws with 7.7 seconds on the clock. Pascual knows how important it is to motivate the players by getting them all to play a part. Winning a final series game by the narrowest of margins, 71-72, and under such immense pressure, takes the kind of faith and courage that is precisely the reason everyone knows that, even when so much had been seemingly against them, this FC Barcelona team could never ever be written off.


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