FC Barcelona vs Saski Baskonia
Barça and Kirolbet Baskonia will meet this Tuesday at La Fonteta in a historic Endesa League final, reduced to a single match due to exceptional circumstances and proposing a rematch ten years after the Basque team Conquer your last CBA against the same rival.
The Final Phase of the Endesa League comes to an end 13 days after its start in Valencia, where the organizational ‘bubble’ has worked perfectly, completely separating the coronavirus and allowing the celebration of a very exciting tournament full of surprises , the largest of all the elimination of Real Madrid.
The absence of the current champion leaves the throne clear for a new king in national basketball, a goal long awaited by the two aspirants. Barça, winner of 18 Leagues, has been waiting for the nineteenth since 2014, while Baskonia keeps three trophies in their windows and lifted the last one in 2010.
That year the trio of consecutive finals between both teams closed with the remembered ‘2+ 1 ‘by Fernando San Emeterio who confirmed the resounding 3-0 in favor of Baskonia. A decade later, Barça will try to get back from that ‘sweep’ of which two survivors remain: Dusko Ivanovic on the bench in Vitoria and Pau Ribas on the court, but this time with the Barça shirt.
MIROTIC VS SHENGELIA
Barcelona, which faces its 28th league final, has been the most solid team in this Final Phase and its only defeat against Iberostar Tenerife occurred when nothing was played. Hand in hand with the brand new MVP Nikola Mirotic, who arrives rested, finished first in his group and deactivated the creditable San Pablo Burgos in the semifinals.
More surprising is the candidacy of Baskonia, which faces an exciting epilogue to a difficult season in which he changed his coach in December, when Velimir Perasovic left his post to Ivanovic, and was eighth in the Endesa League before the pandemic changed him all, although the break helped him recover important troops such as Vildoza and Granger. After getting rid of host Valencia Basket, he returns to the final two years after falling to Real Madrid (3-1).
Barça took the most recent precedent disputed in this same Final Phase (81-75) and also won at the Palau Blaugrana in the regular league (95-87), but Baskonia also has a precedent to look at, their home victory in the Euroleague (76-74). None of those precedents will have the importance of this fourth direct duel.
The biggest focus on the court will be in the duel between Mirotic and Thornike Shengelia, possibly the two best power forwards in Europe. Baskonia will try to defend with intensity and run the counterattack, aware that Barcelona’s physical power makes it much more inaccessible in static play. Ivanovic will not be able to count on the injured Youssoupha Fall against an opponent with three players with a baskonista past: the aforementioned Ribas, Thomas Heurtel and Adam Hanga.
BARÇA: Hanga, Higgins, Claver, Mirotic, Tomic-; Heurtel, Davies, Ribas, Oriola, Abrines, Kuric and Smits.
KIROLBET BASKONIA: Henry, Janning, Shields, Shengelia, Eric, Vildoza, Granger, Diop, Dragic, Polonara, Sedekerskis and Kurucs.
FC Barcelona vs Saski Baskonia