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A few old acquaintances are waiting for Bàsquet Girona to return to the ACB

Bàsquet Girona celebrated its return to the ACB League last Sunday in Fontajau, fourteen years after the city lost first-class men’s basketball. The crisis in the real estate sector caused the bankruptcy of Akasvayu and, in return, the collapse of the macro project that had begun a few years earlier in Girona with shocking names such as Raül López, Vázquez, Fucka and Marc Gasol. The accumulated debt and bankruptcy meant that CB Girona had to give up Plaça ACB and that, despite Sant Josep’s attempt, the city began an unsustainable pilgrimage to nowhere. In 2014, the flame was rekindled thanks to Marc Gasol, in love and grateful for the city, who wanted to return everything he had found during his time here (2006-08). Little by little the project that, in the first three years, was just a nursery, was growing and in 2017 the first senior team at EBA was created. From here, the path is known. LEB Plata, in LEB Or ii last Sunday, already with Gasol dressed in shorts and sweating on the court like fourteen years ago, promotion to the Endesa League in the final against Estudiantes. That little spark that ignited Gasol in 2014 has exploded and has become a big and exciting flame that has returned the ACB to Fontajau.

So Bàsquet Girona will once again face the greats of basketball in the country, as it did for two decades in a row before the bankruptcy of 2008. That last year, Marc Gasol was the MVP of the season and, if not things are going wrong, the one in Sant Boi will also be there in this 2022-23. The ACB has changed a lot since the farewell of the Akasvayu, but some illustrious people will pass through Fontajau who, fourteen years before, were already doing their part in the ACB. This is the case, for example, of Marcelinho Huertas (Tenerife) who played in Bilbao. In principle, Madrid will renew Rudy Fernández and Sergi Llull while Pau Ribas will continue at the Peña. Both Fernández and Ribas were the protagonists and direct witnesses of the last match in the history of CB Girona, with Marc Gasol on the court of the Olímpic de Badalona, ​​in the play-off for the title against Joventut. Víctor Claver was also in Valencia, who continues. Rodrigo Sanmiguel (Zaragoza) then played for Valladolid. Who was also ACB in 2008 with the Lion is Txemi Urtasun, who will have to see if he continues in Girona or not. On the other hand, there will not be other illustrious people such as Albert Oliver or Rafa Martínez who then played for Valencia and who have retired.

The range of teams that Bàsquet Girona will find in the ACB has not changed much, but there are some changes with respect to their last participation. There will be the big ones, Barça, Madrid, Valencia, Baskonia, Joventut and Unicaja, and classics like Manresa, Gran Canaria, Fuenlabrada, Murcia, Bilbao, Betis (formerly Cajasol Sevilla) or Granada, which has risen this year. On the other hand, Bàsquet Girona will not be reunited with Estudiantes, Menorca, Valladolid and León, who were rivals in that last Girona participation in the ACB. His places in the league are now occupied by Tenerife, Obradoiro, Breogán and Zaragoza.

On the benches, Fontajau spectators will also be reunited with a pile of familiar faces. The most familiar, without a doubt, is that of Pedro Martínez. The Badalonian was the last coach of Akasvayu Girona and, next year, if there are no changes, he will return to Fontajau at the head of Manresa. Other classic coaches will also repeat at Fontajau, fourteen years later. These are the cases of Luis Casimiro (Betis) who then ran Fuenlabrada or Txus Vidorreta (Tenerife), who in 2014 was in Bilbao.

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