Joventut continues to dream of his Cup


The choral performance of the Penya blurs Markus Howard’s Baskonia under the protection of the Olímpic and unleashes the illusion in Badalona

The state of happiness has been declared in Badalona. The historic Joventut, which came to an end just a few years ago between debt and poor results, continues to dream of its Copa del Rey. Two battles remain to recapture that unforgettable 2008 title, led by a tenacious Rudy Fernández and a then-unpolished diamond in the rough as Ricky Rubio, but La Penya struck first as host, totally fading Markus Howard’s Baskonia. The most anticipated player in the tournament outside the classic dichotomy between Real Madrid and Barça was canceled out by a chorus of green-black work, able to keep his composure for Vitoria’s bright start to decide the game in a devastating third quarter.

Supported by their fans for the biggest visiting supporters, the Catalan team appeared on the field with a very clear mission: to cancel Howard, one of the performances of the year in Spanish and European basketball. The Penya players worked hard on their defense and although Rokas Giedraitis took advantage of this concentration of green and black resources to get ahead at the start, Carles Duran’s bet would end up being a winner.

As two dancers from the paint like Ante Tomic and Steven Enoch battled for inside game dominance under the hoops, Giedraitis landed in the middle and cooled the Olympian’s cauldron. The +11 baskonista crossing the equator of the first quarter offered no hopeful news for Badalona’s fans, even less considering that Tomic appeared to be battling with the hoop.

Vives (2), Kyle Guy (10), Parra (15), Brodziansky (12) and Tomic (18) -starting five-, Feliz (10), Pau Ribas (8), Ventura, Busquets (2), Collar, Ellenson (10) and Birgander (7).

Thompson (11), Howard (11), Giedraitis (13), Costello (7) and Enoch (8) -starting five-, Heidegger (7), Kurucs, Marinkovic (7), Dani Díez (3), Sedekerskis (12 ), Raieste and Kotsar (2).

The host’s pressure took its toll on Joventut. Stripes were needed and Pau Ribas, a veteran, came to the rescue. Barcelona’s shooting guard led the green-black second unit, who set the scene for La Penya from the bench. The Catalan team rowed to 18-19, which started another match.

For Baskonia, aside from the lost advantage, the worst news was that Howard still didn’t show up. The New Jersey compulsive goalscorer is the deciding factor in this rock & roll-loving Baskonia and much of his team’s fate in the Cup depended on his level. Joventut’s growth culminated in the tie at 32-32 very close to the break.

There, the local progression stopped and had the common sense of an interior with the soul of a pitcher like Matt Costello, who tripled on the horn to stretch the Baskonista-income to seven runs (35-42) at halftime, a good mistake made. Nothing serious in a basketball game that hides a thousand stories. La Penya returned to the floor believing this to be his cup and turned the game around in less than three minutes.

It was the moment of truth for Howard, with his personal score at zero, and the North American emerged with eight points in a very short time to continue the fight against Joventut, unleashed with triples from Joel Parra and penetrations from Andrés Feliz . The Olympian was shaking with his team at the helm and a green-black +7 (64-57) led through Kyle Guy’s peephole.

Howard’s three-point effort that missed the rim and the American’s fourth foul confirmed it wasn’t his night. Brodziansky went on a roll and Vitoria’s number ‘0’ committed his fifth foul, taking the lead to the bench amid tongue-in-cheek shouts of ‘MVP’ from the local fans.

The Baskonia was on the verge of collapse. Without the leader who has breathed new life into the Basque squad this season and with Ante Tomic updating his figures, the game ended without emotion. The Palau Olímpic was already a party. Badalona dreams of repeating that unforgettable 2008 title.

Source: La Verdad


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