Bilbao Basket is resurrected in a big way against Gipuzkoa

The Hakanson-Balvin connection raises the options of the Biscayan team in the face of permanence. They did not give a breath to a powerless team in the face of the avalanche.


"We look like minibasket kids," Nicola, a coach who would be said to live in Villa Cabreo, shouted to his people, near the end of a derby that resembled those playoffs due to the permanence that died out many years ago in the ACB. He reproached them for not even reaching the basket with the shots or the offensive maneuvers. They had enough to look into the eyes of some giants that were passing over them. If, in the first round, Gipuzkoa had Bilbao Basket on the canvas with three last shots to neutralize a disadvantage, this time there was nothing to do. Mumbrú promised that they had taken advantage of these weeks of stoppage for the FIBA Cup and Window and the tests are sent. It seems like a new team, nothing to do with those war mutilated from the rest of the regular phase. They have closed ranks, they have recovered physically and emotionally and that exuberance makes them look like a playoff team. Not even the absence of Rousselle, their most expert baton, discourages them.

Bilbao Basket did not give Gipuzkoa a second of respite, which can now declare its black beast: 66-122 in valuation. At the beginning of January he was dealt a hard blow, from which he was miraculously recovering, and a new Biscayan victory has come to drown his hopes. In all this time, nothing to put in the mouth in Miribilla, but the reaction could not be more timely, with Betis and Estudiantes knocking on the door immediately. Precisely these two and today's protagonists in the Basque derby form the peloton with five victories at the bottom of the table. And Fuenla is not far, it has six.

There was not an instant of trembling this time, perhaps in the final stretch of the third quarter, but it was erased with a stroke of the pen. The success in the line of three determined a very sweet journey through Illunbe: 12/22. They went into roller mode and now they see life differently. It is also true that the defense of the perimeter by the Donostiarras was a festival, in part because they tried to contain Balvin's bleeding from the inside and left the shooters alone.

Having Balvin well physically changes the panorama even in a good team in Europe. Okouo had recently shown himself as a solvent five, but to the Czech he looked like a rag doll. His presence in the area destroyed Gipuzkoa. And also his connection to the best Hakanson of the season. Knowing that you are the only pure point guard, that you are going to monopolize more than 20 minutes whatever happens because there are no alternatives on the bench makes you play more calmly, with confidence. And that is what the Swedish GM took advantage of, who made 5/5 in triples and mercilessly punished the GBC when he threatened with a reaction.

From the beginning, the Mumbrú troop marked territory, went to the neighbour's neck, and did not release the prey until it was torn to pieces. Bilbao returned with well-established collective concepts and a strong defense of the time of the LEB and last year. Nicola looked overwhelmed and put up a 1-3-1 defense, but he had no arguments to appease the gale that came from the western peninsula. Acunsa was so uncomfortable that images such as Oroz were even asking for help after the ball went up in a basket entrance, due to a bad footprint. An ailment more typical of football than basketball.

Kulboka was not scoring, but he made a huge game. In the break they have taught him to be a worker behind and thus he will be a more complete player. Of course, when he took out the rifle, he put baskets, like one with a lateral feint, reverse and went back to shoot and score by falling. Bilbao raised the physical level and broke the derby after the break, with Hakanson and Balvin in command. But then he had a slight hesitation and Gipuzkoa shot with pride. He got 59-68. He was immediately answered with two triples from Hakanson and one from Zyskowski. That shot to the top of 71-97. The team began to like each other, as in a Jenkis rectification, which has also appreciated these days of non-stop training, or Brown, another rocket at the end of February. And the one who will appear in a few photos is Serron, but his return is a blessing, a very intelligent player, a huge defender and who traces on the court what is thought on the board. The mythical barrier of one hundred points was not reached, but ecstasy was already installed in the ranks of the 'men in black'. The end. Captain Rousselle then gathered the crowd for the celebration. He ordered to point his index finger at the sky. That is where José Manuel Cortizas, a veteran basketball journalist who has accompanied the club throughout its history as an essential biographer, sat satisfied. The coronavirus took him away, and the day demanded revenge with his soul team. Another reason to win the Basque rivalry duel. Mission accomplished.

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