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17.05.2009 14:31

First step toward the semi-finals (68-66)

Carles Cascante

Regal Barça have beaten Pamesa in the first game of the League play-off quarter-final, and are now just one match away from the semi-finals. The next game is to be played on Tuesday at Font de Sant Lluís.

In the end Xavi Pascual’s side had a hard time beating Pamesa. After defeating iurbentia Bilbao in the last game of the regular season and a week away at El Montanyà, the players were focused on beating a side with nothing to lose and who didn’t give the game up easily.

Great focus

QM3D1284.jpgThe Catalans knew they had to have their game faces on right from the off. They moved the ball around well, were tough on defence and combined interior and exterior attack to give the visitors a torrid first quarter. By the break they were up by 28 to 13.

Major switch

But the second period was rather different, mostly because the visitors upped their game to fire in 9 unanswered points to make it 30 to 22. Regal Barça had Roger Grimau to thank for stopping this comeback from a side that were showing they knew what they were about.

Two triples from Navarro and Andersen gave Barça a cushion at 39-28 with five minutes to go before halftime. Then an unsportsmanlike foul by Nielsen on Vázquez ruined the visitors’ hopes of turning the game round before the break. Vázquez, with 10 points and three rebounds with four minutes to go, was the best Barça player. Navarro ended up with 11 and the half closed with a good basket by Jaka Lakovic (46-30).

Psychological barrier

QM3D1170.jpgRegal Barça were caught on the hop at the restart. Claver, with a 2+1, brought Pamesa back below the psychological 10-point barrier (48-39), but David Andersen kept the Catalans out in front.

Perovic, however, was still creating a lot of problems for Barça in attack and defence, and the visitors managed to cut the Catalans’ lead to 11 at the end of the third quarter (61-50).

Same story

QM3D1188.jpgIn the last quarter the game continued as at the end of the third. Pamesa played well on the inside to dominate the rebounds but Barça, in spite of Ilyasova playing little part in the game after receiving a blow to the face, managed to keep their distance due to good work by Vázquez.

But then Albert Oliver appeared for Pamesa at just the right time to fire home two three-pointers to make it 65-60 with only three and a half minutes to go. In the final minute Barça stepped on the gas in defence and found Navarro who won personal fouls and slotted home crucial free throws (68-66). It was Basile, however, who proved the key as he blocked Rafa Martínez’s shot when the ex-Manresa player was about to force overtime.
First step toward the semi-finals (68-66)

Regal FC Barcelona (28+18+15+7): Lakovic (7), Navarro (14), Basile (6), Andersen (13), Santiago (5) -starting five-, Vázquez (18), Sada (-), Grimau (5), Barton (-), Ilyasova (-) and Trias (-)

Pamesa Valencia (13+17+20+16): Williams (-), Avdalovic (-), Claver (2), Pietrus (9), Perovic (14) -starting five-, Oliver (14), Miralles (4), Martínez (5), Nielsen (12) and Gregory (6)

Referees: Pérez Pizarro, Conde y Murgui.

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