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The rise of Girona Basketball and the great historical nights of Fontajau

It was almost nine o’clock in the evening and two free kicks by Josep Franch, 8 seconds from the end of the match, certified what very few would have dared to say at the beginning of the season: the promotion of Bàsquet Girona to the ACB 14 years later. This stratospheric success by the work and grace of Marc Gasol celebrated just a week ago today is the last big night lived in a pavilion that in September 2023 will be 30 years old. But there have been others, also very exciting, with Uni and the old CB Girona as protagonists. The women’s team celebrated the two leagues it won, always with Avenida de rival (2015 and 2019); in Fontajau el Valvi there are two agonizing saves in the ACB (1994 and 1995) just in the first two years of the installation’s life, and in 2007, with the name of the sponsor Akasvayu, it won the FIBA ​​Cup .

Girona will have Primera football and basketball next year, but there was a time when sporting success in the city was rather scarce. Valvi’s first season at the ACB ended in decline (1989) and only the purchase of a place prevented the disaster. Then the project was consolidated and as a result of the famous leaks of Palau in that match against the Youth that channel 33 offered throughout Catalonia, the first stone was laid of what is today Fontajau. Inaugurated on September 4, 1993, his first two seasons were agonizing for Valvi, who was saved at home in the fifth game of the play-out against Huesca and Breogán, respectively. The club’s first title did not arrive until 1996, with the Catalan League in Manresa thanks to the basketball of Chris Corchiani, and that, those stays, were lived as if they were European championships. The first big night of Fontajau dates back to Sunday, April 17, 1994, when the Valvi led by Iñaki Iriarte, with 7,500 people in the stands, added the third and final victory against Argal Huesca (70-64) by seal salvation. Anderson (20) and Pardo (24) were the leaders. Only a year later, Valvi was again in the same situation: play-off not to go down, this time with Breogán. A miraculous free kick from Aldrey in the fourth game, to force the tiebreaker, and the penalty to the Galician player Maxey for aggression paved the way. It was April 30, 1995 and again with Fontajau full as never before, a victory (77-67) allowed the ACB to continue “This year too”, the Diari de Girona headlined the chronicle of that day. To find another great feat in men’s basketball, leaving aside the Korac (1999/2000) semifinals against Limoges, you have to go to the 2007 FIBA ​​Cup. Fontajau was home to the Final Four and Akasvayu after falling Estudiantes in the semifinals, got rid of Azovmash (79-72) in the final match. It was April 15, 2007.

Uni has also played a major role in Fontajau, with great European nights in both the Euroleague and the Eurocup, or Super Cups, but its most memorable feats are the two leagues (2015 and 2019) won against Avenida . The first, with Roberto Íñiguez for St. George’s Day and with Fontajau closing doors for the avalanche of public (72-54). The second, on May 5, 2019, with Eric Suris as coach and thanks to a victory over the eternal rival by 73-65.

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