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31.05.2008 22:01

Vitoria will decide (74-78)


AXA Barça were unable to overcome TAU Ceramica in the Palau Blaugrana in the second game of the final series of the ACB League (74-78). Now, Xavier Pascual’s side must win the next two games in the Buesa Arena.

A superior game and accuracy with their three-pointers meant that, except for a few moments level, the Basque side were always ahead. The final series now stands at 0-2 and means that AXA FC Barcelona must win the next two games away from home if they are to keep their hopes for the title alive. Pete Mickeal, with 20 points, was the game’s highest scorer and also, along with men like Prigioni, Teletovic and Planinic, played a fundamental part in TAU’s victory.

Problems with scoring

fcb2-tau_x2x.jpgThings didn’t start well for AXA Barça who, during the first eight minutes, missed a lot of shots. For their part, TAU Ceramica took to the court with greater intensity and they were ahead throughout the entire first quarter, and at one point the difference being nine points. Xavier Pascual’s men gave it everything in the final minutes of the first quarter to slower the pace of the Basque side in an attempt to cut into their lead and in the end reduced their lead to only four points (16-20).

More equal

Despite taking two minutes to score their first basket, the azulgranas showed some signs of recovery at the start of the second quarter, a quarter which showed greater parity in the scoring. With a scoring difference of 7-0 at one point, and a Lakovic basket which breathed more life into the team, AXA Barça got to within one point of TAU.

Coinciding with Splitter’s absence from the court, Xavier Pascual’s men showed more strength and drew level at 30-30 with three minutes to go before half-time. Despite giving it everything, especially on the rebound, Barça didn’t quite manage to get in front and hit the dressing room 38-40 down. Mickael, with 10 points, was the top scorer of the first half, followed by basile and Lakovic with nine points each.

No change

fcb2-tau_x3x.jpgAfter half-time, the game continued in the same vein as the first half. AXA Barça found it difficult to score (4 points in the first 5 minutes), while TAU Ceramica, with the help of Rakocevic’s accurate shooting, made the most of the situation to open up their lead (44-51). Little by little, Barcelona chipped away at their opponents lead to the point that they were only two points behind with two minutes to go to the end of the third quarter. With the stopwatch ticking down to zero, Grimau forced a personal foul which meant Barça would go into the final quarter at 54-57, which meant they were still in with a good shout of victory.

Fight to the end

The start of the second half clearly showed that when the team responds, so too does the Palau Blaugrana. And so it was that Marconato brought the home team to within a point of drawing level (56-57). Intensity levels rose but, try as they might to reel them in, TAU always managed to keep just out of reach.

After a period of attacks by both sides, with Prigioni and Grimau starring for each team, the sides found themselves three points apart with little more than a minute to go, TAU shading it 69-72. In the final moments the intensity was palpable and the number of fouls increased. With a final great effort, TAU ran out 74-78 winners against a Barça side who fought to the end and with only a minute remaining were only trailing by two points (72-74).

Vitoria will decide (74-78)

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AXA FCB: Basile (9), Marconato (4), Lakovic (9), Ilyasova (15), Acker (2)– starting five- , Pepe Sánchez (8), Grimau (11), Kasun (8), Neal (5), Trias (2), Vázquez (1)

TAU Ceràmica: Prigioni (3), Rakocevic (17), Teletovic (13), Splitter (12),MicKeal (20) – starting five- , Mc Donald (4), Planinic (6), Singleton (1), Vidal, (2)

Quarters: 16-20, 22-20 (half-time), 16-17, 20-21 

Referees: Hierrezuelo, Martín Bertrán and García González.

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