Who would have thought it a few years ago when Gipuzkoa Basket and Bilbao Basket fought in fast-paced matches to qualify for Cup and playoff spots in fully packed halls and with numerous fans crossing the A-8 to cheer on their own. Good ‘ol times.
Guipuzcoans and Biscaymen close the year at the bottom of the classification and will open 2021 in a confrontation of absolute survival. The men in black, eighteenth with three victories in sixteen days played, receive Acunsa GBC, bottom with two wins, on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. in Miribilla. A match to try to get out of misery. Or at least start the road to it.
Marcelo Nicola has not yet found an explanation for why his team does not compete regularly during the 40 minutes of the game and transmitted after the 71-78 defeat against Manresa that “it is difficult to explain why they do not believe –the players– in what they are doing. It is not the first time that the Argentine signals them directly after a defeat and it is better that nervousness and despair does not take over the squad, because the season could be eternal. Meanwhile, in Bilbao they don’t even want to say the word “final” right after starting January. “To think that it is life or death … It is important, there is a long season ahead,” said Álex Mumbrú, his coach, on Tuesday after losing 96-86 in Burgos.
- Two are the victories of Gipuzkoa Basket in Miribilla
The first, in January 2012, when 25 points from Panko and 19 from Vidal served to win in extra time. The second and last, in 2018 with Fisac in the bank.
The season is reaching its halfway point and the surprise is that, with the course that both teams are completing, the numbers say that salvation is still something real. The two consecutive victories for Betis have left the Basques alone in the descent and the four for Gran Canaria have ruled out Porfi Fisac’s men from the bunch of candidates to be relegated to the LEB, but the seventeenth place is two wins for the GBC, a totally manageable distance. Another thing is the feeling left by the game of the Gipuzkoans …
The statements of those who live the day-to-day life of the team continually attribute the disconnections and droughts suffered by the GBC to the mental aspect. However, from the outside there are important gaps in the structure of the team, starting with the defense of the blockade, the main source of most of the points and plays of the rivals.
Nicola can’t find his game director and has had to turn to Xabi Oroz to act as a base captain and leader on the pitch. Some days Span, others Faggiano, but the one who is always appearing is the Azkoitiarra, who despite his limitations in shooting, manages to make the team play.