In Round 21 of Liga Endesa, two teams that aim a play-off spot will battle for an important victory, as RETABet Bilbao meet Unicaja Malaga. This game comes perfectly for both teams because they are in a very good form and fully-fit squads. In their last meeting, Unicaja won 77-70, in a game where Bilbao made a lot of turnovers that gave their opponents a lot of extra-attacks. Can Mumbru’s team take their revenge here? Let’s see the preview.
For Bilbao, this season was a very good one, nobody expected to stay in a playoff spot for so many rounds. Their team play very good basketball and with the experience of former great player Alex Mumbru, they can achieve great things this year. If they will clinch a playoff berth, that will be more than pleasant for the board and the fans. In the last round, they gain a huge victory on Valencia’s home court. They took the lead in the final moments of the second quarter and then protect it until the final buzzer. The final score was 81-78 thanks to a very good defense inside the arc, where Valencia scored only 35% of their shots. The main contributors were: Axel Bouteille (24 points and 4 assists), Emir Sulejmanovic (18 points and 7 rebounds) and Rafael Martinez (11 points). Three days ago, they bring in Tyler Haws, a good shooter that has ACB experience, playing for Obradoiro in 2015-2016 season, but is uncertain if he will make the debut in this game.
Unicaja came in this game after winning 6 of their last 7 games and their morale is very good after winning against Euroleague power Baskonia, in the last ACB round and against Tofas in Eurocup. In the last game, they started very well against the Turkish team and at halftime they had a 9 points lead, but in the next quarter, Tofas had a 25-16 win and the score was 59-59 before the last part. Unicaja played very good in the last quarter and managed to hold their opponents to only 9 points scored and the final score was 76-68. After this win, Unicaja took the tickets for the next round of Eurocup, which is great, as they are still in the books in all competitions involved. The main contributors in the game were: Josh Adams (14 points), Ruben Guerrero (10 points and 5 rebounds) and Adam Waczynski (11 points).
It will be a tough match for both teams and it’s too hard to predict a winner here. They are in very good form and playing at home will present a small advantage for Bilbao, but Unicaja has the roster to overcome that pressure from the fans. Bilbao had more days to rest, but Unicaja played at home against Tofas, so they had some time to recover for this game. It should be a fun game to watch, between two of the most in-form teams from Spain.
Bogdan Vasile Tirc