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11.06.2009 22:05

Baso seals win with late three (80-82)

Sònia de Alba

A Gianluca Basile three pointer with two seconds to play sealed game one of the ACB Final series for Regal Barça to turn home court advantage in favour of the Catalans.

In an intense game, packed with quality basketball, Regal Barça have gone 1-0 in the ACB final series. When Igor Rakocevic converted one of his free throws with 26 seconds left (80-79), things weren’t looking too good for the visitors, but they managed to clinch a late winner. Navarro’s initial attempt was well defended by TAU, who passed on to Andersen, whose shot missed the target. But Barça won the rebound and Gianluca Basile in only his second attempt from beyond the 6.25 line in the whole game, scored three points that were worth a mighty win.

TAU tried to respond with a strategy move, but John Lucas, who has already scored two threes earlier, failed to even touch the rim.

Four scoreless minutes

46310_6_62252_6x1x.jpgAlthough the game started intensely, with the sides exchanging scores, Regal Barça lost five almost consecutive balls, and such errors plus some excellent Vitorian shooting, along with excellent offensive rebounds to set up second attempts, meant a TAU streak of 11-0 made it 21-10 with 48 seconds of the first period remaining.

Xavi Pascual started rotating his bench, sending on Roger Grimau and Ersan Ilyasova, and this provoked an immediate response of 0-5, leaving the score at the end of the first ten minutes at 21-15.

Lead at the break

Barça found new wind in the second period, but were still struggling with rebounds, especially in offence. TAU collected 12 rebounds compared to a meagre four for Barça.

But serious, patient effort managed to compensate for that shortcoming. Such drama as an alley-hoop between Roger Grimau and Fran Vázquez (29-26), and an excellent assist from Jaka Lakovic to David Andersen eventually saw the Catalans edge into the lead (35-38).

TAU were suffering from the pressure on their defence, but the way they switched between zone and man-to-man marking confounded Dusko Ivanovic’s players on several occasions. Barça’s main man in offence was David Andersen, scoring 11 of his side’s 14 points in the last five minutes of the second period.

A strategy play designed by Pascual and magnificently interpreted by his players saw Barça take a lead into the break. The Australian centre sent home a three pointer to make it 37-43, and things were looking positive for Barça’s interests.

More thrills

There was even more tension after the restart. Igor Rakocevic assumed the central role in the TAU team, with his colleagues seeking him out from all angles.

46306_6_62248_6x1x.jpgBut Barça weren’t going to sit back and let TAU drown them out. Andersen was on hot form (19 points in 30 minutes on court). He also annulled a Rako three pointer that had turned the game in favour of the Basques. From 49-48 it went to 49-51.

Regal Barça simply pressed on with their own game, refusing to allow TAU to apply pressure or take command of the flow of the game.

The final period started at 56-59, and immediately saw some of the finest plays of the game. A Santiago move on the paint, a Lakovic three pointer and an offensive rebound from Ilyasova to set Andersen up for a three, as well as a splendid three from John Lucas were among the highlights.

End worthy of a final

With both sides fighting intensely for possession, the game was frighteningly even going into the final stretch. With just 26 minutes on the clock and the sides tied on 79, Igor Rakocevic missed one of two free throws (only the second to be missed in the whole game – the other was missed by Ilyasova).

Now at 80-79, possession went to Regal Barça. The winning play was started by Navarro. He could either go for a throw or open up the play in the hope that one of the TAU defenders would be forced out of position. And he opted for the latter. Navarro then found Andersen in a very similar play to that which had ended the second period, but the ensuing throw failed to make the hoop. However, Barça won the rebound, and another three point attempt from Basile, with a mere two seconds on the clock, did find the target.

TAU Cerámica still had two seconds to conjure up a response, but the Barça defence stood its ground well, and a desperate John Lucas throw failed to go in. A well deserved win for Regal Barça in the first of what promises to be a memorable series of games.
Baso seals win with late three (80-82)

TAU Ceràmica (21+16+19+24): Prigioni (2), Rakocevic (19), Vidal (9), Splitter (18), McDonald (10) – starting five – Teletovic (11), Lucas (6), Mickeal (5)

Regal FC Barcelona (15+28+16+23): Basile (3), Lakovic (13), Navarro (11), Andersen (21), Santiago (9) – starting five – Vázquez (12), Ilyasova (8), Sada (2), Grimau (3)

Referees: Hierrezuelo, Martín Bertrán and Redondo

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