ANDhe BAXI Manresa signed its second victory in the ACB League -first at home at the Nou Congost- after beating Baskonia with justice that continued its crisis as a visitor -3 consecutive defeats-. The Manresa, although with short incomes and never exceeding 10 points, were more than three-quarters of the game ahead on the scoreboard, and showed much more serenity and confidence in the final stretch. A 10-2 run in the last 5 minutes certified the victory of Pedro Martínez’s men, who had a dominating Moneke in the paint (15 points and 10 rebounds) and a brilliant Valtonen on the perimeter (16 points in 24 minutes) . On the Baskonia side, which closed the game with 22 losses, Giedraitis finished with 15 points.
The first contact between both teams was resolved in favor of the locals, thanks to two consecutive triples by Dani Pérez on the possession clock that placed a 13-8 midway through the first quarter. The visitors reacted from the hand of Giedraitis, very successful in the outside shot, and the architect of a partial of 0-8 that gave the initiative to Baskonia (13-16). The joy of Vitoria did not last long, however, because the intensity of Moneke in the offensive rebound and the aim of Valtonen led to an 8-0 to close the first period with the locals up, 22-16.
With much more energy and desire, the Manresa found solutions to the problems that a better Baskonia defense created for them, relying on the offensive rebound and the inner contribution of Moneke and Sima. Thus and although Baskonia came close to 3-4 points on several occasions, the losses of the ball were a drag on the visitors and an opportunity – in the form of recoveries – for the locals to keep their hands firmly on the wheel (34-26 , mn.6). A smaller success from the triple of the Manresa shooters and the first Vitorian free throws would leave the score somewhat tighter at the break (37-33).
A triple by Costello as soon as the game resumed woke up Baskonia, who with a 2-7 completed by two free throws by Nnoko put Ivanovic’s men ahead (39-40, min.23). The rhythm of the game became directed by the defenses, and in that scenario Moneke was in charge of keeping his people hooked on the game. Personal fouls began to punish important players on both sides, with free throws becoming the main avenue of scoring late in the period. Good minutes by Fontecchio tied the game at 49, although an unsportsmanlike performance by the Italian allowed Manresa to regain air to enter the last quarter dominating 55-51.
Pedro Martínez’s men gave themselves a new boost with a mate from Sima and a triple from Jou, putting the Basques in a very difficult situation (62-55, min.33). Fontecchio, with a triple, and the intensity of Nnoko – who forced the fourth from Sima and Bako – aborted that first attempt at Manresan escape, returning the game just one possession away (64-63, min.35). That would, however, be the last threat from Ivanovic’s men. BAXI Manresa pressed on defense, leaving their rival without scoring for almost 4 minutes, enough to enter the last with a cushion of 9 points (72-63). A couple of losses in the last possessions of the Manresa were not an impediment so that, despite a tense final -engang between Dani Pérez and Jason Granger-, the local fans could enjoy their team’s first victory at the Nou Congost.
74. BAXI MANRESA (22 + 15 + 18 + 19): Dani Pérez (7), Thomasson (4), Berzins (1) Maye (8) Sima (13) -Five starting- Francisco (-), Rafa Martínez (1), Dani Garcia (-), Jou (3), Moneke (15), Valtonen (16) and Bako (6).
67. BASKONIA (16 + 17 + 18 + 16): Granger (8), Marinkovic (11), Giedraitis (15), Sedekerkis (2), Nnoko (10) -starting five- Kurucs (2), Fontecchio (12), Barrera (-), Costello (7), Sissoko ( -) and Enoch (-)