Road to Final Four: Lenovo Tenerife

I will start this Basketball Champions League Road to Final Four series with a team that knows this road very well and has twice reached the final destination, Lenovo Tenerife. Winner of the first edition and the last, the finalist of the 2019 edition has only one thought, the second consecutive trophy.

They started the competition in Group H alongside Rytas, Peristeri and Herzliya, who lost 2 away games to Peristeri 88-81 and to Rytas 85-78, winning the group. In the round of 16, they were assigned to Group L, along with 2 other teams from Spain: Murcia and Bilbao and the Turks from Darusssafaka. Here the performances were even more impressive, finishing in 1st place winning all the home games and losing only one game in the 5th round to Murcia 82-67. Arriving in the Quarter-Finals they met last year’s finalist, Baxi Manresa a series of best-of-three that needed a decisive match, the advantage of the home field was decisive for Tenerife, imposing itself in the 3rd match 84-72, thanks to a Fitipaldo on a big day 5/7 of 3 points, he having 22 points.

Although they had only 81.9 ppg (8th), 33.1 rpg (17th) and 18.5 apg (10th), the team is helped by some players with huge basketball experience: Giorgi Shermadini (34 years old) 14.0 ppg, 5.0 reb; Marcelinho Huertas (39 years old) 12.7 ppg, 7.0 ast; Bruno Fitipaldo (31 years old) 11.5 ppg, 3.0 ast or Sasu Salin (31 years old) 11.5 ppg, the only one with medical problems being Salin. The most important aspect is that all four also played in the final and won last year with BAXI Manresa. Salin then had 18 points, Shermadini 14 points, Huertas double-double with 13 points and 14 assists and Fitipaldo 7 points, 4 assists.

From my point of view, Tenerife is the favorite for the trophy for several reasons, first of all, the experience of the players in this competition, the continuity at the roster level, the fact that the Final Four is played in Spain and both of Tenerife’s successes were also in Spain.

Valentin Petruta

Photo credit: Basketball Champions League