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05.06.2009 22:45

Palau will decide (82-75)

Carles Cascante

There will be a third game after Unicaja defeated Regal Barça in the second semi final between the two teams in Martín Carpena. The Blaugrana attempted a good comeback, but were just unable to complete the task and the hosts were able to claim victor

Juan Carlos Navarro stood out for the visitors with 26 pints to his name and his team reduced the arrears from 18 points to look like giving themselves a chance of earning a place in the final, but they were unable to and the Málaga-based home team ensured that there will now be a third and decisive contest in the Palau Blaugrana.

Good start

The first period belonged to Unicaja and the Andalucian outfit played an intense game and were able to move around Barça. Things became slightly disorderly as the two teams played at a frenetic speed, but Gomis did well for the hosts in defence, while Navarro did everything that he could to try and find the net. In fact, La Bomba sank the first triple for his team, which was also his 650th in the Liga ACB, to put the Catalan team just one point behind, 12-11.

Unicaja stuck with the style and tactics that has seen them progress well this term and it ensured that they we in at the first turnaround with a six-point advantage, after Roger Grimau had netted a late two-pointer.

Navarro on form

barca1.jpgFrom the start of the second quarter it was clear to see that Navarro was going to enjoy himself as he threw in two quick triples and kept his side firmly in the contest after the home team had started to record points of their own to go 28-26 ahead. Soon after though a basket from Vázquez put Barça into the lead for the first time, 32-33.

Málaga started to come back though and Martín Carpena led the way while Kelati netted three out of three triple attempts, but the last word of the second quarter went to Navarro as he sank a superb basket with 1.2 seconds left.

Bouncing back

The start of the second half saw Barça fall behind in a way that they were to be unable to recover from as Unicaja netted eleven points without reply, thanks tin the main to the impressive Boniface Ndong along with Carpena. With the home side edging 56-43 in front, things were always going to be difficult to for Barça from then on and while Navarro and Ilyasova helped to reduce the arrears slightly, another six points for Unicaja without the visitors scoring saw them down 65-47. A slight rally late in the quarter endured that the difference was eleven points going into the fourth period, however.

A triple from Navarro at the start of the last period gave FC Barcelona hope and they pressed forward and only allowed Unicaja to score three points in an impressive seven-minute spell that saw them dominate and move to within three points of their hosts, 69-66. A couple of minutes later and the gap was just one point after David Andersen had sunk a free-throw.

Decisive moment

The decisive moment of the game then came as Andersen sank a shot that put Barça 71-73 ahead with just four minutes of the game left and it appeared that he had helped book his team a place in the final. But the home team were not going to give up and a triple from Jiménez saw them go back in front and continue to add points at one end while remaining strong in defence at the other. Cabezas then proved to be decisive for the Andalucian outfit as he netted the last four points of the game to give his side an 82-75 victory. Now the tie will be decided in the Palau.
Palau will decide (82-75)
Match stats

Unicaja (24+19+24+15): Cabezas (8), Gomis (9), Welsch (6), Jiménez (11), N'Dong (20)- starting five- Kelati (12), Cook (5), Gabriel (3) i Archibald (8).

Regal FC Barcelona (18+25+13+19): Lakovic (-), Navarro (26), Basile (2), Andersen (14), Vázquez (9)- starting fiev- Santiago (-), Grimau (6), Ilyasova (11) i Sada (7).

Referees: Amorós, Pérez Pérez and García González.

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