San Pablo Burgos and the dream of a summer night

The modest team from Burgos has broken all the forecasts making history and now wants to stand up to the almighty Barça.


Whatever happens, in the history books it remains that a modest team, the San Pablo Burgos of Joan Peñarroya reached the semifinals in his third season in the Endesa League and in an Exceptional Final Phase. And he did it with all merit to face the great favorite, Svetislav Pesic's Barça, who has a budget almost seven times higher than Burgos, who has 15 ACB League titles and who has played 27 semifinals; that is to say David against Goliath.

Barça have always won in the six league matches between the two squads, although in the Coliseum in Burgos, where the highest average attendance is public with 9,400 spectators per game, Barça have suffered to prevail: 101-103 (2017-18) , 80-85 (2018-199 and 80-82 this season.

This season the San Pablo Burgos (Miraflores Basketball Club) wanted to step forward the Catalan Joan Peñarroya came to the bench to relieve the Burgos coach Diego Epifanio, who had led the team in the last four years.

A squad with expert players and without shrillness, with the Italo-Uruguayan Bruno Fitipaldo, who followed last season, and the Badalona Ferran Bassas, signed from Iberostar Tenerife, as bases were joined by the American escort Thad McFadden, ex of Joventut, and that he came to be one of the benchmarks of the team, also counting on Catalan Álex Barrera in his fourth season with the Burgos club in the same position.

The American with a Cameroonian passport, Jean-Pierre Tokoto, was signed in the eaves line, who went from over to under and was cut off at the end of January, but another of the references has been the Italian-Brazilian international, Vitor Benite, also in his second campaign in Burgos and one of the main scorers of the Castilian team from the perimeter, converted into an escort

Miquel Salvo was also arriving this season, coming from Guipúzcoa, a defensive forward and incisor in attack, an important player in the team's rotations.

Before the Valencia finals began, the team suffered a major loss: that of American power forward Earl Clark, a former NBA player who had arrived from Buducnost this season after playing in the Euroleague. He went to the United States when the COVID-19 pandemic was declared and in mid-May, unable to return, the contract was mutually terminated. Behind left an average of 12.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.

Highlight the presence of captain Javi Vega, a Madrid power forward who came to the club when he was at the LEB Oro in 2015 and who today is a benchmark in the dressing room and for the Burgos fans. And this season, Cuban Jasiel Rivero also recovered. , signed in the 2018-2019 season, but who was loaned to the Argentine league, completing the line of 'cuatros' of Peñarroya.

In the inside game, Serbian center Goran Huskic, who was serving his third season in Burgos, was injured in November and was intervened in January, unable to play the remainder of the season.

Thus, the Spanish-Brazilian Augusto Lima, in his second season in the team, was a benchmark in painting. In November the veteran Oliver Stevic, known from Peñarroya and who had been under his command in Andorra, arrived with a temporary contract until January, being cut at the end of it, to sign for Joventut.

After his departure came the young Serbian power forward Dragan Apic, on loan from Lokomotiv Kuban and who, together with Vitor Benite, was key to the Burgos classification for the semifinals after beating MoraBanc Andorra (88-86) .

Another success of the Burgos was the signing for this final phase, a few days before starting, of the Granada international power forward Pablo Aguilar, who has given consistency to the rebel and interior game of the Castilians.

But the big surprise was on the second day when they beat Real Madrid (87-83), with McFadden unstoppable (18 points); his first step to be in the semifinals and a madridista defeat that would be important for the elimination of those of Laso. No matter what happens tomorrow, the San Pablo Burgos is already in the history of the ACB.

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