ANDhe Valencia Basket managed to prevail at the Buesa Arena over Bitci Baskonia by 71-78, in a match in which they came to enjoy a 20-point advantage at the start of the second quarter, but which ended up being decided in the last three minutes. The greater rotation and physical freshness of the Valencians ended up being decisive, as well as the contribution of López-Aróstegui and Hermannsson. Between the two they scored 12 of the 22 taronja points in the final quarter, including the last 6 when the match was even, 71-72. The Biscayan would finish with 20 points and a PIR of 24, while the Icelander had 15 points and 6 assists. On the local side, the most productive was Baldwin with 15 points, playing the last two quarters in full.

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The turnovers penalized Baskonia’s start of the match, which saw Valencia take a 4-8 lead after three-pointers by Rivero and Tobey. Although the shooting percentages were not brilliant in either of the two hoops, the local inability to score from anywhere other than the free throw allowed Peñarroya’s men to double their rival midway through the first quarter (6-13). The rotations contributed more for the visitors than for the locals, who finished the first quarter having thrown twice as many triples (8) as doubles (4). A 2+1 from Rivero and a layup from López-Aróstegui would close the period with a clear 11-20.

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The trend did not change at the beginning of the second quarter, with a more orderly Valencia and with a better reading of the game. A three-pointer by López-Aróstegui and three free throws by Pradilla increased the lead (14-28), prompting an urgent Spahija timeout after only 2 minutes of play. Two Dubljevic bombs shot the difference up to 20 points in the blink of an eye (14-34), setting off the alarms in Buesa. Although Baldwin tried to throw the team behind him, Valencia continued to take advantage of his interior superiority to comfortably stay on the scoreboard, reaching the locker room dominating 34-45.

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The exchange of blows was the tonic that prevailed after the intermission, because although Baskonia tried to match the Valencian defensive intensity, and its balance in the offensive increased, it was not enough against a visiting team that remained in double-digit differences with much solvency (44-54, min.25). A jumper from Baldwin and a three-pointer from the corner from Peters lit up the stands, and although Peñarroya stopped the game to reorganize his team, the azulgranas had already found the ignition point they needed. Thus, consecutive triples by Marinkovic and Fontecchio -the latter at the buzzer- completed a 12-0 run that turned the game around (58-56, min.30)

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Enoch extended the streak at the beginning of the last chapter with two dunks that placed Spahija’s men at 62-58 with just over 7 minutes to play. The taronja broke a terrible series from the 6.75 line with two consecutive triples from Leberyie and López-Aróstegui that tied the game and woke up Peñarroya’s team (64-64). Although a technique to Dubljevic stopped the Valencians, Rivero’s entry gave oxygen to a Valencia that regained control after a 2+1 from López-Aróstegui (69-72, min. 37). The greater Valencian physical freshness drowned out the Vitorian attack, which was only capable of scoring a basket from the hand of Giedraitis in the last stretch. Meanwhile, in the other hoop, Hermannsson took on the role of executor with two baskets that sealed the visiting victory.

Data sheet:

71 – Bitci Baskonia (11+23+24+13): Baldwin IV (15), Giedraitis (12), Fontecchio (12), Peters (13) and Enoch (11) -initial five-, Raieste (-), Marinkovic (3), Granger (3), Sedekerskis (2) and Kurucs (-).

78 – Valencia Basket (20 + 25 + 11 + 22): Hermannsson (15), Hanlan (5), Labeyrie (3), Rivero (12) and Tobey (7) -starting five-, Puerto (2), Claver (-), Pradilla (3), López-Arostegui (20) , Van Rossom (-) and Dubljevic (11).

Referees: Perez Pizarro, Martinez and Olivares. Enoch was eliminated due to personal fouls. They pointed out technique to Dubljevic (min.34).

Incidents: match corresponding to the twenty-ninth day of the regular phase of the Endesa League played at the Fernando Buesa in Vitoria before 5,706 spectators.

Via Marca.com