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18.05.2008 20:57

Into the semis by 2-0 (83-92)

Sònia de Alba

AXA Barça has taken the fast track into the semi-finals of the ACB League. After a game in which they were defensively solid and extremely accurate in shooting, the Catalans are now waiting to see who their next rivals will be.

31 points and an overall evaluation of 37 for Alex Acker made him into the outstanding player in the game. The shooting guard had a magnificent first half in which he scored 18 points. Ersa Ilyasova also performed well and is making great strides. The experienced Pepe Sánchez played a more unobtrusive role but still provided six assists and snaffled six rebounds. That gave him the game’s second best figure after Ilyasova who got eight.

Eight points with no reply

All of this came together in superb team performance from Xavi Pascual’s men as they settled into the driving seat at the end of the first quarter.

Barça made an impressive start at La Casilla. Two three pointers from Basile and Acker and then another two points from the Italian really set iurbentia back on their heels. However Txus Vidorreta’s men came storming back and thanks to Recker, Banic and Javi Salgado managed to finish the first quarter down by only 16-18.

Acker superb

CPR0708JaviSalgado_Jaka_Lakovic.jpgMarcelinho Huertas couldn’t dominate as he is used to doing against Barça, as Alex Acker took the game by the scruff of the neck. Just when the Basque outfit had managed to get ahead for the first time (25-22 at 5 minutes and 21 seconds from the break) the American guard started to fire in from all points of the court.

Acker, who had scored five points in the first period, finished the half on 18 and by the end of the game his personal tally stood at 31. He had a truly magnificent match, and not only in attack as when a shot didn’t go in he was back working hard in defence.

In addition to Acker, AXA Barça’s overall shot percentages were very high. In the first two quarters the Catalans scored 6/8 in triples.


Halftime came with the score reading 34-40. On the restart, iurbentia tried to claw their way back in with a zone defence and shooting from Paco Vázquez and Luke Recker. The Bilbao outfit managed to get back to one point at 43-44 at three minutes into the third quarter.

But Barça kept their calm and kept working. Roger Grimau, a bit poor during the first half especially because he had picked up three personals fairly quickly, gave Barça some breathing room with eight unanswered points. At the end of the third quarter the gap was back up to ten points.

SCP_AXA_FCBCN_-_IURBENTIA_BB_2x1x.JPGXavi Pascual’s team was controlling the game really well and despite the best efforts of iurbentia Barça kept in front with a fine, disciplined display of basketball. Acker rounded off his game stats to make him the second best player of the weekend behind Marc Gasol with an evaluation of 44.

In the end AXA Barça ran out winners by 83-92

Waiting for the next rival

Barça are now getting ready for the semi-final, but still don’t know who they will be playing as the Akasvayu Girona v DKV Joventut tie needs a third match to decide the winner. This is to be played on Tuesday 20 May in Badalona and if DKV Joventut win, they will also have home advantage for the next round. If Akasvayu Girona come out on top, then Barça will begin playing at home.

The semi-final series is set to begin on Thursday or Friday depending on the game that is chosen by television.
Into the semis by 2-0 (83-92)

iurbentia Bilbao Basket: Huertas (16), Recker (18), Banic (12), Weis (2), Lewis (-) – initial five – López (-), Zengotitabengoa (-), Savovic (2), Salgado (7), Vázquez (9), Pasalic (13), Ilic (4)

AXA FCB: Basile (7), Sánchez (2), Marconato (-), Ilyasova (14), Acker (31) – initial five – Trias (2), Lakovic (11), Neal (4), Vázquez (8), Moncasi (-), Kasun (3), Grimau (10)

Quarters: 16-18 / 18-22 / 19-23 / 30-29

Referees: Amorós, Pérez Pizarro and Jiménez

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