A true derby: Unicaja hosting Valencia

Unicaja will host Valencia in the Palacio de Deportes Martin Carpena, in a game that counts for Round 3 of the Spanish Liga Endesa.

Both teams stand with a 1-1 record after the first two rounds, as both teams beat the struggling Tenerife, but lost against Zaragoza and Girona.

Unicaja beat the team from the Canary Island in the first round at home with a comfortable 23-point margin (98-75) in what was a great collective team effort. American-Montenegrin Kendrick Perry led the Andalusian team with 19 points, while another player who participated in the World Cup earlier this month, Canadian Melvin Ejim followed him with 14 points and 6 rebounds.

In Round 2, Malaga was hosted by Casademont Zaragoza in the Pabellon Principe Felipe and Ibon Navarro’s men won the first two quarters entering the halftime break with a slim 50-48 lead. However, the second half belonged to the Aragonese team. Jahlil Okafor, the former 3rd pick in the NBA Draft made a great impression scoring 18 points and grabbing 5 rebounds and Santi Yusta (20 points with 9/10 shooting from 2 points) was also too much to handle for Malaga, who were led this time by Nihad Djedovic (18 points) and Will Thomas (16 points).

Valencia also started the season at home against Girona, but it was a painful sight for the fans who came to La Fonteta to see the new roster. The game ended with a surprising defeat, 85-89. Chris Jones with 15 points and Jared Harper with 14 were the leading scorers for Valencia. The ‘’Taronja’’ avoided a crisis by winning in the second round in Tenerife 94-86. Newcomer Brandon Davies led Valencia this time scoring 17 points, while Jared Harper contributed 14 points.

It was a very important win for Alex Mumbru and his team as Valencia had a tough schedule at the beginning of this season. After they play in Malaga, the Spanish team will start the EuroLeague season next week with a game against Monaco. In the month of October, they will also have to play against Fenerbahce, Maccabi (away), Efes (away), Zalgiris (away), and Barcelona.

Imre Halasz

Image: La Opinion de Malaga