Bsquet Girona faces this Sunday (5:00 p.m.) its particular Goliath, Barcelona. For some it will be a normal match beyond competing for victory. For others, however, grief is charged with meaning. In fact, If back in 2006 the azulgranas hadn’t loaned a young man with a medium-length haircut and 2.15 meters in height to Akasvayu, today Bsquet Girona probably wouldn’t exist. Marc Gasol returns to the Palau after 14 years since the last time I stepped foot on that park as a visitor. Habrn past 5,362 of.
After his tour of two years in Memphis supporting the career of his brother Paua young Marc aged just 18 he returned in 2003 to Barcelona to be part of the first team. Debut on October 26 of that same year. Premiere and victory against Students. In his first year at the Barça club he barely participated in 17 games. There were three seasons that ended in 2006 with a balance of 59 games played in ACB.
Without becoming transcendent within the Bara, the middle of the Gasol replace the Palau with Fontajau. And which phoenix rose from her ashes. With the extinct Akasvayu, he played 74 games with averages of 13.5 points, 6.9 rebounds and a PIR of 21.7. Then, with a good number of ACB MVPs, took flight to the NBA. And the rest is history: a Grizzlies icon, All Star, best defender in the NBA, the Raptors, a ring, the Lakers…
Marc’s will be the big comeback this afternoon, but his career is not the only one linked to Bara among the members of Girona. Up to six more figures from the team have had a relationship with the Barça entity. One of the most notable is probably that of Ato Garcia Reneses. The manager of the Girona club played for Barcelona (1968-73) and later directed its bench and even became general manager (1985-2001).
For the veteran coach it is a distant past. That is why he is blunt when talking about what it generates for him to return to the Palau: “Undoubtedly you have to leave the sensations aside and you have to focus on what you have to focus on”Params inri, Sarunas Jasikevicius was his pupil of Ato in his first stage as a player in the Bara.
The bad start of Oriola
Another familiar face at the Palau, Pierre Oriola, will be able to debut this Sunday with the Girona shirt. He arrived at the club in 2017 and after five seasons dressed as a Barça player he signed for Gasol’s club just 15 days ago. oriola, what he became Barça captainleft a legacy of 160 matches. His departure was bittersweet: they terminated his contract and he assured when he left that “it was not the end he wanted in this club”.
Another reunion, less full of nostalgia, will be that of Lubos Barton. The Czech, who acts as assistant coach, played two years at the Palau (2008-10), playing a total of 41 games. Jaume Sorolla, ric Vila and Pol Figueras, all of them from the Bara academy, are also linked to the Barça team.. The last two even made their debut with the first team: one led by Xavi Pascual and the other with Georgios Bartzokas at the helm. “When you’re at Bara you always dream of playing for the first team. I’m excited to go to the Palau for an ACB match.”
Those of Girona, who will not be able to count on the injured Josep Franch, arrive at the meeting with good feelings after chaining two consecutive victories (Betis and UCAM). Are waiting take advantage of the wear and tear of the azulgranas, who will arrive with only one day off after hosting Fenerbahe.
Ato has taken the iron off the derby and has insisted on his philosophy of playing better every day: “It’s a game to go play the best you can. It’s a good time to go and try to play a little better”. We’ll see if David can beat Goliath in Marc Gasol’s return.