Marcelinho surrounded by FIATC Joventut players / PHOTO: VICTOR SALGADO - FCB

It wasn’t an easy game, as local derbies never are. FIATC Joventut led for 38 minutes, but Barça clinched the win right at the end in a display of pride that has shown just how much this team is starting to come together. Ignoring some more than controversial refereeing decisions, they kept their heads and with a haul of 36 points in the final period came good in their first road game of the Liga Endesa season.

FIATC Joventut started with motivation and aggression, with John Shurna producing the goods from distance. Salva Maldonado’s side led by eight at the end of the first ten minutes (24-16), and the margin could have been wider had Tomic and Abrines not been so effective for the visitors. Xavi Pascual used the break to regroup his forces, and insisting that his players gained command of the rebounds.

Uncomfortable throughout

La Penya, spurred on by the home fans, were just as intense in the second period, penetrating the Barça defence and finding the hoop for 3-pointers, with Barça looking uncomfortable in every position, and perhaps fortunate to find that by half-time they were still well in contention (33-28).

Things looked better in the third period. The defending was more solid and the attacking more convincing. Marcelinho finally converted the first Barça three after 25 minutes, but with top scorer Ante Tomic fouled out and Lampe and Dorsey on four fouls, things were looking very dicey indeed. FIATC Joventut pounced on the FCB uncertainty to extend their lead to 58-45 as the third period drew to a close.

36 points win the derby

The fourth period started with an exchange of baskets, and then Barça’s troubles increased when Nachbar was also fouled out. La Penya were more confident than ever, but the Barça players were somehow inspired by the adversity and started producing their best play of the game. Three from Papanikolaou and two more from Dorsey got things back to 72-69 with four minutes to go. A gripping finale saw Abrines get a three to put Barcelona ahead for the first time in the game (77-80). Marcelinho took command and with 36 points in a magnificent final period, Barça picked up a win at the Olympic Pavilion that had, at times, seemed impossible. It ended 80-83.

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