A story to repeat

Joventut beat Nanterre and returned to the Eurocup quarter-finals thirteen years later, when they ended up taking the trophy.


"It is not a final, it is a historic opportunity for many of you," Carles Durán harangued his players before flying to Paris. But it was and they have celebrated it as such. The roadmap was clear, the one that would avoid any unnecessary suffocation: win. Plan B, a defeat by less than six points that will not invalidate the average (95-50 at the Olímpico de Badalona). It was not necessary to take out the calculator. Joventut, after beating French Nanterre 88-95, will return to the Eurocup quarterfinals thirteen years later. He will face the more than fearsome, and favorite for the title, Virtus Bologna, who also has the track factor under his belt; but the way is known. Duel between European champions.

The Nanterre, with a small quintet, proposed a revolutionized party. Moving well in a few seconds in which he usually feels comfortable and turning the meeting into a high scoring runner. As expected. Isaia Cordinier (15 points and 22 PIR), absolute star, showed his early repertoire: skillful penetration and triple (12-7) to put Joventut in that limit that could be encrypted today: five points. Against Tomic (18 points and 5 rebounds), colossal, and Brodziansky monopolized La Penya's offense: they scored 21 of the 26 green-and-white points in the first quarter (29-26). The inside game was considered as one of the offensive flanks to exploit; the perimeter, as the defensive zone to contain. The former was achieved, but the latter failed: the French started with a five out of seven in triples. Two of them, from a Tyler Stone who in the first leg had gone up to 26 points (the maximum of his career). Today, after a start of scare, he stayed at 11. Redd Marcquise, with a PIR of 27 and 26, would be the beaten leader. At the end of the first quarter, one was inside in present terms, outside in the projection of the markers. A recurring operation.

Y that would make Pau Ribas much easier: triple to put the tie, for the first time, two minutes into the second quarter (31-31). Cordinier, pristine in shooting, beat Xabier López-Aróstegui in the positional duel and returned to make vertigo present (31-36); although for a short time. Dimitrijevic, in two pecks, put Joventut ahead, also for the first time (41-44), and Ferran Bassas, with a triple and a cap (yes, a cap), opened a gap that remained in two points at the end of the first part (45-47). Many names, high rhythm and score according to him; dominance in the paint (19 rebounds by 14) and localized snipers (only two French triples). Result? Minimum distance on the flag marker, but more than enough that everyone had in mind.Path explored to the end

And the two would hastily open up as the second half began. It was time for Durán's men and, in this case, the tie: 2-14 partial that Bassas opened with a triple and Albert Ventura closed with the same name (47-61). A wall (almost) too high for the Nanterre. And a restless rejoicing began: the perimeter was as green-black as the area and Birgander sank with the hoop with the weight of history, past someone who is known as Pau Ribas (56-70), who would leave until six assists (and 16 points). Spiked roses, but watered in every drought. Nanterre blows, but with response. López Aróstegui (13 + 7 + 2), after missing two triples, scored a third with a definitive flavor (74-82) with 3:47 minutes remaining. From there, exchange of free throws and scores in favor: 88 to 95 in Maurice - Thorez, 88-100 in the important and European ticket for La Penya, which returns to a few quarters of the continental competition.

The last time he reached this stage, in 2008, he won the competition, still with Ricky Rubio, Rudy Fernández and under the direction of Aíto García Reneses. Pau Ribas and Carles Duran, the only survivors in the feat, know the next steps of the new leaf. With obstacles of the stature of Bellineli or Teodosic, but en route. One to repeat.

Photos from as.com
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