He turns 37, but as if they were 23. The second youth of Chacho is celebrated by Real Madrid, already in the final of the Endesa League after finishing, at last, with the leathery and worthy Joventut. The white physique (imposing Tavares), the talent of Musa and Hezonja and, above all, the mastery of Sergio Rodríguez (15 points, seven assists) were too much for a Penya that could not maintain its bid with the European champion. [73-94: Narrative and statistics]

The triple of Llull in Kaunas will be remembered, of course. But what about Sergio Rodriguez's previous one in that historic final against Olympiacos. And of his decisive role against Partizan and not only on the pitch. Freed, smiling, happy, another fullness for an eternal base, as far as he wants. Madrid dances to the sound of Chacho and already awaits rival in the final, the eleventh in 12 years (only missing in the bubble of the Fonteta, three years ago).

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Pablo Laso signs for Bayern Munich until 2025


Pablo Laso signs for Bayern Munich until 2025

It has not been a series much less placid for those of Chus Mateo, honors to the Penya that, since the surprise in the first challenge in the WiZink, has not given up and has forced Madrid to take a step further. Madrid raised the defensive bar and conquered Badalona in that series of 12 games won that accumulates at home.

Against the ropes, Carles Durán's adjustments had to do with the physical, the balance that everything measured in modern basketball. Initially, his two giants on the track. With Tomic and Birgander, the dominance of Tavares is cushioned and the poor percentages with which Madrid is handled in this semifinal from the perimeter favors playing without a pure four to the Penya. And it worked for the home team that, for the first time in four games, did not wake up with a ballast on the scoreboard. In fact, equality was going to be the tonic of the entire first half.

Andres Feliz

Dynamism, aggressiveness, but also many mistakes. Tomic and Joel Parra (10 points in the first half the canterano), missing on Saturday, were the ones who hurt Madrid. That he suffered from his constant failures from the triple, some clamorous: Hezonja missed the six he tried. And that he lived, basically, by that celestial state in which Sergio Rodríguez lives, birthday -37 although it does not seem so- happy.

On the way back they followed both as two exhausted fighters, low guards, cluelessness and the success of the brave. Andrés Feliz swept Williams-Goss and Musa began his recital of technical resources. But equality and tension remained in the Olympic: two baskets in a row from Yabusele and another two from Goss, pure vindication after a couple of dubious fouls on Feliz, then put the white maximum (41-50, min. 26).

And things were not going to get better for a Penya with clear symptoms of exhaustion, of despair. His courage kept him fighting, keeping going with his heart in his mouth to every offensive rebound, but the disappearance of Kyle Guy, his offensive beacon, was too much ballast. Nor did the return of the inspired Chacho to the track help him. The third quarter, in which he fell by 15, was to be his sentence.

Not even a disputed double unsportsmanlike to Madrid was the loophole to approach. Hezonja also appeared and Madrid soared. "It has not been easy, Joventut plays very well," confessed Mateo, looking for a historic double in his first year on the bench. With the magic of Chacho, everything is better.

  • Real Madrid
  • Badalona
  • Pablo Laso Biurrún
  • Europe
  • ACB League

According to the criteria of The Trust Project

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