ANDhe desire and the aggressiveness of Urbas Fuenlabrada, constant throughout the match beyond his success at all times, allowed him this Saturday to overwhelm an irregular Valencia Basket and add a well-deserved victory that ended a streak of four consecutive defeats in a final to heads or tails in which a basket of the Nigerian Obi Emegano decanted the shock (88-87).
Fuenlabrada came out in a rush in attack but -and this was the important thing and the great novelty- also in defense. Led by an aggressive Ziga Samar and with Emegano’s points, the Madrid team endorsed a partial 11-0 to a Valencia that traced their bad starts from the two crashes prior to the break and that did not wake up even with the anger of Joan Peñarroya in a time-out shortly after starting.
The rotation allowed the visiting team, with the youth squad Millán Jiménez contributing mordant, to begin to match the local aggressiveness, which fell with the departure of Samar to the bench. It also allowed him to start adding thanks to Klemen Prepelic and Jasiel Rivero and when they were joined by Xabi López-Arostegui, Valencia took the lead (25-26, m.12).
But the strength of Kyle Alexander and the points of Leo Meindl, who returned after several weeks injured, and the rookie Dragan Milosavljevic allowed the locals to get ahead, regain confidence and with it defensive aggressiveness, a formula that made him reach the rest with a deserved income (48-41, m.20).
Valencia returned to the track better, more focused and regular on both sides. The points of Josep Puerto and Sam Van Rossom allowed him to get ahead but the permanent commitment of Fuenla not only kept him afloat but also allowed him to enter the last quarter with an almost intact income thanks in part to a pair of baskets from Samar ( 71-63, m.31).
With the clash controlled, the locals looked for the cerebral Milosavljevic, who had a brilliant debut, but when it seemed that Valencia was on the ropes, he was reborn. A basket by Van Rossom, a rebound with a basket by Puerto and a couple of counterattacks by López-Arostegui made the locals doubt (80-79, m.37).
Emegano appeared to support Fuenla but also Van Rossom to compensate and with the match tied in the absence of thirty seconds an inexplicable loss of the Madrid team player and an unsportsmanlike performance by the Nigerian to cut off Valencia’s counterattack increased the uncertainty. Rivero scored one and they called Van Rossom a foul without the ball being put into play.
Emegano hit a basket in the absence of four seconds and in the last action the good local defense left the ball in the hands of Papi Rivero outside the 6.75 line and his penetration ended in nothing and Fuenla was able to celebrate a hard-working victory for you.
88.- Urbas Fuenlabrada (22 + 26 + 21 + 19): Samar (6), Emegano (23), Meindl (13), Cheatham (4), Alexander (15), -five starter- Macoha (-), Ristic (4), Eyenga (1), González (-), Novak (10), Milosavljevic (12) and Bagayako ().
87.- Valencia Basket (19 + 22 + 22 + 24): Hermannsson (3), Puerto (13), López-Arostegui (13), Pradilla (-), Dubljevic (14) -five starters- Prepelic (12), Rivero (14), Jiménez (3), Van Rossom (9) and Labeyrie (6)
Referees: Perea, Sánchez and Martínez. They eliminated the visitor Puerto (m.39) for fouls
Incidents: match corresponding to the twelfth day of the regular phase of the Endesa League played at the Fernando Martín de Fuenlabrada pavilion before 4,927 spectators.