Unicaja will be among the eight best teams in the Basketball Champions League. Without a doubt, without calculators and without having to look at the FIBA regulations to see how double ties are broken. The compositors will be part of the quarterfinals. The victory of AEK against Galatasaray (92-78) already brought it forward and confirmed it the compositor victory against Limoges (99-88), tighter than might be expected at first. But a victory, which, after all, is what counts to go to Greece with better feelings.
Unicaja already started the game knowing that they had qualified mathematically for the quarterfinals of the BCL. AEK beat Galatasaray (92-78) and the criteria for the tiebreaker between Turks and Malaga already confirmed from minute 1 that, whatever happened on the track, the important thing will be next Tuesday, on the AEK track. A victory in Greece will mean going to the playoffs as first in the group and with the home court factor in their favour, the main objective.
Of course, before you had to pass the procedure against Limoges, you had to demonstrate that “undeniable and unquestionable” desire. The first part was very far from that image with which Ibon Navarro tried to explain that this bump was not even important. During the second one, something very different could already be seen. A more recognizable team than it had been the rest of the season
Tyler Kalinoski was his usual self again. He made his three-pointers (3/6), rebounded, faked… the excellent Kalinoski of the Copa del Rey (18 points). A more fluent Tyson Carter was also seen, more connected at all times to the game (15 points). Darío Brizuela did not play and that also favored them having more minutes to meet again. However, the most special image was left by the ownership of Mario Saint-Supéry. The youth squad, like one more, scored a triple, dropped to the ground to grab rebounds and had 12 minutes to show that there are wickers there.
From less to more
The game from the beginning was already a party. Unicaja started like a roller without wanting to pay attention for a single second to what had happened in Greece. There were other interests such as recovering sensations and it was a good show of intentions… at first. Everything seemed calm. The 17-7 led by David Kravish gave Carpena one of those celebratory airsBut it wasn’t going to be that easy. Ibon Navarro had to stop the response from the Gauls (22-19min. 8).
Overcome that first impact (26-22), everything already came filmed or so the 6,782 spectators thought because from 37-25 it went to 43-46. Everything had gone well with Kalinoski as the main offensive weapon. The team held its own in defense and everything was following the script. Which very few people expected was to witness, suddenly, a Unicaja-Desi Rodríguez -who received a final ovation for his 25 points-. The power forward hit the cashier zone like someone who opens the door to enter a place. A collapse on the track like few have seen this year. 46-52 at halftime.
The good news is that there was the “slut”. A run of 17-4 (63-56) in four minutes returned to that Unicaja that we all know and the Carpena exploded. What little is needed to do to have the “Green Tide” delivered! The American ‘4’ was about to scare his body with two consecutive baskets (63-60), but this was no longer what it used to be. So unleashed party 1, let party 2 begin. Another arreón until the 72-62 (min. 28), although we had to continue.
The truth is that Limoges was far from that image that a team with 0 wins and 5 losses can give. Graves, Desi Rodriguez, Jones… good players, but none of them were even Will Thomas -superb last quarter- nor Kendrick Perry. Nobody wanted to extend the game more than expected. So in one final outburst, they stepped on the accelerator to confirm with all the letters that Unicaja is a team for the quarterfinals (99-88).
Now we will have to wait until Tuesday to define the continental future. Until then, to improve in sensations and receive first a Barça that will find Carpena absolutely packed this Sunday. It’s not a bad plan.