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13.08.2007 10:19

The right man for Navarro’s job

Carles Cascante

Now Navarro has left, Barça needed to find somebody to take his place, and the man has been found in playmaker ‘Pepe’ Sánchez, who will be linking up with Jaka Lakovic.

Juan Ignacio Sánchez, who has dual nationality, is one of the finest of the excellent crop of players coming out of Argentina, and was the first player from his country to appear in the NBA. Although he has since been outshone by the likes of Ginibili (Spurs), Scola (Rockets) and Nocioni (Bulls), he is still a class act.

Without making too much of a fuss of things, the former Unicaja point guard has won over the plaudits, and the fans of all the different clubs he has represented. His intelligent approach to the game has meant he has been the target of countless transfer enquiries.

Success at Unicaja

It was in Malaga that he most excelled, and that is despite winning the Euroleague at Panathinaikos in 2001-02, a year after winning gold for his country at the Indianapolis world championship (2002). He came to Spain via little Etosa Alicante, where his ability to read the game and supply assists upped the wow factor associated to the player.

Unicaja immediately snapped him up for the 2004-05 season, where he helped the Andalusians to two major titles and became an ever-present in coach Sergio Scariollo plans. At the Martín Carpena he won the Copa del Rey (2005) and the ACB League (2005-06).
The right man for Navarro’s job
Beating Barça
Curiously, it was ‘Pepe’ Sánchez who ended Barça’s Euroleague adventure last season. His three-pointer on the buzzer left Dusko Ivanovic’s side out of the Final Four in Athens. It was the first time Malaga had made it to the final stage of Europe’s premier basketball tournament.

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