Maximum party in Illumbe: return of the ACB and first victory

Echenique shows that he is going to figure with a great game against Zaragoza that did not quite believe it. Review of a key play at the end with Seeley as the protagonist.


Illumbe has been mute about basketball for a year and a half. The ACB withdrew from the San Sebastian bullring after the decline in 2019 and the team carved out promotion in the small Gasca. He finished it off in the offices, because the LEB Oro did not finish because of the pandemic, and with a judicial order through. Quite a challenge that broke the authority and pride of the Association. The site began some works that have been delayed due to all the problems derived from COVID-19. The existing slab and sand were removed and part of the concrete wall was demolished to facilitate access to the bullpen area and the barrier. In addition, the base was cemented and a chipboard was placed on the ground. All this to allow more sports and cultural activities.

The San Sebastian venue deserved a reopening in style. And it has. Recovering the confetti of elite basketball and with the first triumph of the team in this return to the ACB, after their pilgrimage, with defeat, by Miribilla and Burgos. The good thing about this group of Nicola is that he has a clear idea. And develops it. They know how to suffer and are tenacious. Echenique is the reference, a young Colombian boy who looks like he is going to make a career in basketball. 21 points, 7 rebounds and those semi-hooks that are being lost in basketball, such as mid-range and board shots. The boy is determined and the rest are dedicated to appearing when the script requires it. Echenique yells 'We can'. Easy joke.

The orchestra plays around him: Dee enters when he can in combustion and eight points in a row settled the team at the beginning, Tomàs made two triples that were pure oxygen (one unexpected to catch and throw with the defender on top), Magarity captured a 2 + 1 against Thompson who gave the last push, Francis is taking the air to the category and Okouo, very discreet until the last gasp, threw clearings and one against one in the low post against Thompson himself to complete the landscape. And although Span and Faggiano are almost inoperative in the opposite field, behind they apply like few others before people like San Miguel and Ennis.

For Zaragoza it is very difficult to live without Justiz, who still has a few days left after the knee injury that he has dragged on since last season; and now Sulaimon have fallen, for two months, and young Krejci, for the whole season. Thompson, Hlinason and Seeley took the lead but everything seems washed out. In a game with a few points, without too much rhythm, the 13 losses ended up condemning the rojillos, for whom Acunsa lowered their average: the fourth attack in the League, with almost 86 points on average, remained below the 70.

The clash was decided on the instant replay screen, in a penetration by Seeley against Faggiano, with 13 seconds left and 69-67 on the scoreboard. The play was so fast and confusing that it was not noticeable even with ten repetitions if the ball hit a leg of the local base, or if he brushed it with his hand, or if perhaps the Zaragoza guard caressed it with some part of his body at the last moment. The referees checked it and gave possession to the GBC. Then the visitors were missing on Echenique, with 11.7 still to be developed. Until that moment, the Colombian had a 13 out of 14 on the fateful line and failed the first. What a responsibility, but he got the second. With three up, Nicola gathered her boys together and asked not to be necessary. They were patient and held up well the penetrations of Seeley and Ennis, who were looking to get her out to tie from 6.75. It got to Benzing, who had a bad position against Magarity and missed.

Zaragoza lacked continuity and Ocampo should be worried about such intermittence and, above all, about the 1-4. There were many centimeters in both areas and the teams sought the outside shot on many occasions. The meeting was even, with minimum distances usually for the Basques. The GBC got off to a strong start each period. Benzing was instructed to attack Magarity, but he was as irregular as the rest of the team. Acunsa grabbed five valuable points in the final section after a trip-goal from Tomàs (65-60, with 4:39 left) and was the most convinced of the victory, because Casademont never gave the impression that he could continue to torture this promoted by judicial means. It raises as many doubts as those dragged by all fans of a certain age who continue to rename the team as Casademont Girona, a name and a surname from the past now revised in Prince Felipe.

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