Dusko Ivanovic's Baskonia was an unattainable Tourmalet for Joventut. The Vitoria team, led by Henry, Polonara, Peters and Giedraitis (all above 15 points), beat Penya (96-87) with room to adjust the jersey for the photo on the way to the Copa del Rey semifinals . The pride of Carles Durán's team hit a rock. Joventut seized on the eve of two cup feats against Baskonia: the victory in the final of Vitoria in 2008 (the last of the eight Cups of his record) and that apotheosis of 2019, with 36 points and 50 valuation by Nico Laprovittola when we have the information But that was past pluperfect; Now Baskonia is unattainable for Penya, due to physicality and resources.
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From the initial jump, two well-defined match plans were seen on the court. Two lifestyles. Two models of suffering. The Baskonia accumulating muscle in the paint to impose its physique. The Joventut clenching his teeth to contain the rival onslaught. Following Dusko's script it was Pierria Henry who tightened the rope, unleashed the agitation and translated the athletic dominance of his team into points (16-6, m. 5). Carles Durán soon discovered that he had to reinforce the agonistic spirit of his troops if he wanted to compete against the Baskonist army. And for this he recruited veteran Pau Ribas, a Dusko soldier at TAU between 2009 and 2012.
It was Ribas himself who in his day compared the suffering of working with the Montenegrin coach to “climbing the Tourmalet”. Another ex-Baskonista like Sergi Vidal developed the idea later. “Dusko marked my mindset, no doubt. How I survived I speak well of him. It wasn't tired, it was pain. I would compare it to the army. I have not been, but when I see the movies I see myself reflected there. Like in Titans … when they went running in the mountains … reality is more than fiction. There are things that are not to be told but to feel, ”Vidal said before hanging up his boots.
With that military formula, Baskonia —which, from the 2010 League to last summer, spent a decade without adding a single title And with only three finals played (two of the Super Cup in 2011 and 2018 and the League of the 2017-2018 season) – he returned to the top of Spanish basketball. And with that formula, he continues to make way to expand the harvest. With many warriors embracing with conviction there is no pain from Sergeant Dusko. “If you give meaning to suffering, suffering becomes motivation, pleasure. They will learn it for sure, "said Ivanovic after winning the League in Valencia. And with that motivation, Henry, Polonara, Peters, Dragic and company were deployed on the parquet. And they tried to defend Joventut by making the rubber on the climb to his Tourmalet.
Jackson's points and Tomic's rebounds allowed Penya to barely stretch surrender while twisting on the bike. On the other hand, with a pedaling cadence sometimes imperfect but always tense and intense, the Baskonia was making its way with very high firing percentages. A coast-to-coast sprint by Henry, which ended with a spectacular one-handed dunk, allowed Baskonia to score the flying goal of the first half (55-47, m. 20). The highest score of the Vitoria team at rest in its history copera.
It took time to find the pedaling López Aróstegui, Penya's usual scoring support, and Baskonia advanced between inertia and cruising speed. Giedraitis joined the cause of Henry and Polonara and Ivanovic's team began to see the semifinals. Bassas tried not to surrender to the evidence and unloaded a flurry of points. Always insufficient because Joventut's problem was more in defense than in attack. "You have to hold on! You have to hold on!" Was heard in the harangues of La Penya in the dead times.
And the resistance was about to become hunting and capture. With 71-65 on the scoreboard, Birgander missed an easy basket under the basket that would have put Joventut within four points and, immediately afterwards, came a triple from Polonara. The Baskonia did not finish demarrar and the Penya could not complete the pursuit. Peters closed the third quarter with a triple on the horn and the Vitoria team entered the home straight with +10 as a reassuring distance (78-68, m. 30). The margin was maintained until the end and Baskonia sealed their pass to the semifinals after a stage won with solvency and without stress.