ANDhe Unicaja Málaga was up to the challenge it faced in Santiago de Compostela and beat an Obradoiro team with whom it was tied for wins and as a direct rival in the unexpected goal of permanence. Ibon Navarro’s pupils, who completed an almost perfect match in the defensive aspect, left behind the two consecutive defeats against UCAM Murcia and Gran Canaria.

Last year, on March 20, Brizuela acted as savior with a basket on the buzzer that gave victory to the team from Malaga in Santiago. The shooting guard from San Sebastian seemed to continue playing the same match and led his team in a perfect first quarter individually -9 points, with full success in the shot- and also of the green squad collectively. A three-pointer by Hobbs in the first attack gave the locals the only advantage they enjoyed throughout the contest (3-2). The percentages of Moncho Fernández’s team were not bad, installed at 50% of success in shots, but he shot little to the basket and lost many balls. And the nerves surfaced: a loss by Hobbs with an unsportsmanlike result began to open the great gap (7-21), founded on an impressive defense by Ibon Navarro’s pupils.

With just 13 minutes of play, Monbus Obradoiro had lost as many balls -12- as usual in a full game. Much of the blame fell on Cameron Oliver, who was colossal in defense, in intimidation and in attack. His basket precipitated a new timeout for Moncho Fernández (18-35), although the gap went up to 22 points (18-40, minute 15). The entrance of the recent signing Philip Scrubb and a final rush of pride allowed Obradoiro to close the gap and lift their fans (30-45).

A four-point play starring Alberto Díaz, as well as a triple and a 2 +1 from a once again unstoppable Brizuela broke the duel again (32-52), but above all they extinguished any glimmer of hope in the Obradoiro and its fans. . The Malaguista team was able to score ten points in less than a minute and a half while the Santiago team was barely able to do so in the entire quarter. Oliver, the other great protagonist of the afternoon, had his deserved share of brilliance with a triple (35-64) and an alley oop to return the score to its maximum difference (41-70).

A 12-0 partial between the end of the third quarter and the beginning of the final (53-70) returned the confrontation to a reasonable distance, but still unattainable for a Monbus Obradoiro that never gave the sensation of being able to achieve something historic, which turned the last minutes in an exchange of baskets and rotations without further significance, and left the scoreboard in a true reflection of what was seen on the track (71-85). The cadet Saint-Supery had time to become the youngest player to debut in ACB with the Unicaja shirt (15 years and 11 months) after debuting in European competition in the defeat in Oostende.

Data sheet:

71 Monbus Obradoiro (14+16+17+24): Hobbs (14), Robertson (13), Thomas Scrubb (1), Ellenson (4) and Vicedo -starting team- Zurbriggen (2), Beliauskas (10), Okuou (9), Suárez (4), Birutis (2) and Philip Scrubb (12).

85 Unibox (29+16+25+15): Alberto Díaz (12), Brizuela (24), Abromaitis (3), Guerrero (2) and Barreiro (5) -starting team- Alonso (12), Kravic (2), Mooney (8), Oliver (17) and Saint -Supery.

Referees:Emilio Pérez Pizarro, Javier Torres and Alberto Baena. They eliminated Dario Brizuela for fouls

Incidents: Match corresponding to matchday 25 of the Endesa league played at the Multiusos Fontes do Sar in front of some 4,000 spectators. Before the match, a minute of silence was observed in memory of Antonio Novoa, the first president of the ACB, who died at the age of 91.