Baskonia eliminated Valencia Basket after an amazing playoff battle

The quarterfinal clash between Valencia and Baskonia was maybe the most awaited by ACB League fans and the series did not disappoint.

Valencia finished the regular season in 3rd place, so Joan Penarroya’s team had the home-court advantage. However, in Game 1, Baskonia started better and had the lead most of the game. Valencia managed to erase a 10 point deficit and even took the lead close to the end of the game (79-75). Baskonia kept their cool in a dramatic finish and scored the last 5 points to win 80-79. Matt Costello, Simone Fontecchio and Wade Baldwin each scored 15 points for the winning side, while for the hosts Xabi Lopez-Arostegui was the best scorer with 17 points.

The series then moved to Vitoria-Gasteiz for Game 2, where Baskonia had the chance to finish the series and avoid a decisive game 3. Almost 10 000 fans attended the game in the Fernando Buesa Arena, but this time Valencia was the team that managed well the adversity of the crowd. Just like Game 1, it was a hard-fought game and after a first-quarter won by Baskonia, Valencia took the lead at the beginning of the second quarter and never lost it. The game ended 89-82 in favour of Valencia and the orange team became the favourites again to advance to the semifinals. Jasiel Rivero had an amazing game for Valencia, scoring 27 points, while Alec Peters had 18 points and 9 rebounds for the Basque team, but his effort was not enough.

La Fonteta hosted the decisive Game 3 and it looked like Valencia was ready to be the first team to win a game at home in this series. They took a 20-9 lead after the first quarter and had a 13 point lead in the middle of the second quarter. Baskonia came back and the teams went head to head until the fourth quarter when Baskonia absolutely demolished Valencia. The team from Vitoria-Gasteiz won the 4th quarter 23-5 and the game ended 76-59 in their favour. Wade Baldwin and Simone Fontecchio lead Baskonia to victory, while Bojan Dubljevic was maybe the only player from Valencia that had a decent game.

Neven Spahija’s team will go on to meet Real Madrid in the semifinals, with Game 1 scheduled for Thursday in Madrid.

Imre Halasz

Image credit: Baskonia