PABLO ROMERO / COMMUNICATION AREA FEB
First it was the Delteco Gipuzkoa in the Final Four played on the field of Multiusos de Cáceres. A year later, the Lucentum Alicante on the track of neutral Fuenlabrada and, a decade later, the RETAbet Bilbao by successfully completing their home court advantage in a packed Bilbao Arena.
Three promotions that came under the current Final Four format and that had a common denominator, the dominance of an unexpected national center throughout their three games. Players who had already given previous samples of quality in national basketball, but who ended up finding definitive consecration through their superb performance.
2008: David Doblas, the first great hero of a Final Four
The Breogan of Lugo! That was the main candidate for promotion in a 2008 Final Four in which men like Daniel Clark or Devin Davis clearly pointed to the MVP from the Lugo painting. But the loss of the latter due to a shoulder injury seemed to reduce the competitive capacity of the Lugo team in the semifinals in which the historic Bernard Hopkins took on the weight under the hoops. All this so that Bruesa GBC could star in the great surprise of the championship and thus reach a final in which they were going to face Tenerife Rural.
In this way, the fight for promotion began with the people from San Sebastian focusing their efforts on defending the Gimel Lewis and Fotios Lampropoulos towers, as well as the people from Tenerife doing the same on the hero of the semifinals, a Bernard Hopkins whose spaces were reduced by rival scouting. A whole factor that allowed David Doblas to gain weight as the minutes went by to act as the highest scorer of the match (17p) as well as the MVP of the Final (26 val).
A decisive performance for the victory and the consequent rise of the Basque team that meant the definitive consecration of Doblas. Because the category promotion served the Cantabrian interior to settle for 8 consecutive seasons in an Endesa League in which it had previously played three editions and which had led the LEB Oro to search for the definitive boost.
S1: Alicante Costa Blanca vs Tenerife Rural ( )
S2: Bruesa GBC vs Rio Breogán Milk ( )
Final: Bruesa GBC vs Tenerife Rural ( )
2009: Guillermo Rejón, the unexpected leader of the Alicante resurrection
With the Fernando Martín de Fuenlabrada as the neutral venue for the four candidates for promotion, only Tenerife Rural was able to repeat its presence a year after the lost final in Cáceres. Four teams that starred in the most even Final Four in history and in which Lucentum Alicante ended up winning the final grand prize through one of their rotation men.
And it is that, entering the grand final from the bench, Guillermo Rejón ended up playing 25 minutes matching the role of men called to be decisive as center Taylor Coppenrath. But Melilla Baloncesto’s solid defense against the North American ended up opening the door to success for a national interior that took advantage of the situation to score 21 points in attack and to seal the victory with two decisive final rebounds. Numbers that made him the unexpected leader of a resurrection from Alicante that came after canceling pivots as powerful as Victor Cuthbert, Caio Torres, Michael Southall or Keith Waleskowski from Melilla.
With this promotion, Rejón secured three more seasons in the Endesa League before closing his career with five years in the FEB Competitions.
S1: Lucentum Alicante vs CB Villa de los Barrios ( )
S2: Melilla Basketball vs Tenerife Rural ( )
Final: Lucentum Alicante vs Melilla Basketball ( )
2019: Fran Guerra, the unofficial MVP who achieved the dream momentum
The Bilbao 2019 Final Four will be remembered forever as the one in which Bilbao Basket managed to return to the Endesa League in front of 11,000 spectators, the one in which Álex Mumbrú debuted his career as a coach in a big way or the one in which a triple Thomas Schreiner unleashed the madness among the fans.
But as had happened in the two previous editions, the great individual protagonist was once again in charge of one of those “made in Spain” pivots. Because the Iberojet Palma managed to reach the grand final for promotion through the leadership of its inner star, a Fran Guerra who had been key up to that point in the season and who came to star in a great final phase in which he came close to having been able to surprise the local team.
Because his weight in the game of the Balearic team led him to outshine such decisive men as Kevin Larsen or Ben Lammers in the Final or, previously, Davis Rozitis and Earl Watson in the semifinals against Ourense Baloncesto.
Numbers that were well worth a long-term contract with Lenovo Tenerife to make the final leap to the Endesa League where he has already accumulated three consecutive seasons in which he has even made his debut with the Spanish National Team shirt.
S1: Iberojet Palma vs Rio Ourense Termal ( )
S2: RETAbet Bilbao Basket vs Melilla Basketball ( )
Final: RETAbet Bilbao Basket vs Iberojet Palma ( )
2022: Will Marc Gasol be able to maintain national dominance in reverse?
When the Girona 2022 edition arrives, it will not be very difficult to try to guess which pivots could set the pace for their respective teams during the fight for promotion. Men as decisive as Kevin Larsen and Nemanja Durisic have been during the course for Movistar Estudiantes, Bamba Fall and Mus Barro for Zunder Palencia, Ibou Badji and Michael Carrera for ICG Força Lleida or Karamo Jawara for Bàsquet Girona.
But for the first time in the history of the Final Four, the main candidate for MVP of all the pools already has a national name even before being able to set foot on the Girona Fontajau floor. And it is that, the mere presence of Marc Gasol in the ranks of Bàsquet Girona is a challenge for the other three teams that will be part of the competition.
A true National MVP who has dominated the League from the moment of his arrival and who could turn this Final Phase into a future opportunity for his team. And, if he could achieve it, Marc would ratify the dominance of the national centers in a competition in which, however, he could do it from the opposite side. That is to say, being already a consecrated star in world basketball from which he came to reign in the LEB Gold League.
Will this be the occasion to be able to add a new MVP to his extensive record of services?
S1: Movistar Students vs. Zunder Palencia (S-17:30h)
S2: ICG Força Lleida vs Bàsquet Girona (S-20:00h)
Final: Winner S1 vs Winner S2 (D-18:45h)