Could Unicaja or Joventut do the surprise in the semifinals?

The Liga ACB reached the semifinals, Baskonia and Tenerife being the victims of the quarterfinals this season. The semifinals are played in the best-of-five system in a 2–2–1 format, with Barcelona and Real Madrid having home-court advantage due to their standings in the regular season.

Barcelona (1) – Unicaja Malaga (5)

Barcelona started this playoff very well, managing to pass Valencia without too many emotions. In the first game, Mirotic’s genius was needed to solve the game, he finished with 27 points for an 84-74 victory. The second game was easier, although Barcelona scored 1 of 18 from the 3-point line, all 12 players had contributions in the 87-64 victory. The best scorers were Satoransky 14 points, Mirotic 13 points and Abrines 12 points. Unicaja reached the semifinals of the Liga Endesa for the 14th time, reaching the finals of the competition 3 times. In the quarterfinals, they managed a mini surprise with Tenerife winning the first away game 72-59, although only 2 players were in double digits: Perry 16 points and Osetkowski 11 points. The second game was a show of strength, a game won 97-74 with Kalinoski 18 points, Perry 16 points, and Brizuela 13 points. Barcelona must fix what they can from this season and considering that Malaga lost all 10 semifinal series played with a home-field disadvantage, I think that Barcelona will have no problem winning this semifinal especially since they also have revenge to take after the defeat in the quarterfinals of the national cup.

Real Madrid (3) – Joventut Badalona (7)

After sixteen years, Madrid will face Joventut once again in the ACB semifinals, a gift given to La Penya fans by their team after the elimination of Baskonia. The Whites had no problems in the quarterfinal with Gran Canaria, the absence of Deck is already a problem of the past. In the first match in WiZink Center, Real won 95-68 with Musa 20 points and Llull 16 points the main 2 scorers. The away match was more balanced but experience made the difference at the end of the match and Real won 89-81, the same two players being the main scorers, Musa 22 points, Llull 14 points and Tavares were in a double-double 12 points, 12 rebounds. Joventut made a surprise in the quarterfinals by eliminating Baskonia in two matches. The match at the Fernando Buesa Arena was won without great emotions, with Kyle Guy finishing with 36 points and Brodziansky with 21 points making the efforts of Howard (28 points) useless. The second match in Badalona was more balanced, but Baskonia managed to lead only a few times, all the while being in a chasing race, an 83-76 final score. The best scorer was again Kyle Guy with 22 points helped by Vives with 15 points and Brodziansky with 13 points, and 7 rebounds. In the regular season, Real won both matches (86-76, 96-79) and I don’t think they will have problems in this series either, being in their best period this season.

Valentin Petruta

Photo: La Vanguardia