Real Madrid comes back at the Buesa Arena and enters the Euroleague Final Four on the fast track

Triumph of the meringues by 98-102 in their visit to Baskonia


Real Madrid won this Wednesday 98-102 on their visit to Baskonia, with an outstanding performance by Argentine point guard Facundo Campazzo in the last half minute, and has qualified for the Euroleague Final Four quickly, at a rate of their 3-0 in this quarterfinal tie.

To seek that third victory and certify their ticket to the Final Four, which will be in Berlin (Germany) from May 24 to 26, Chus Mateo’s pupils faced off at the Fernando Buesa Arena against a rival full of spirit, thanks to the support of a fan who wanted to see a victory for their team in the playoffs of this tournament after five years.

The Baskon players got the message, and they maintained the initial exchange of blows thanks above all to Nikos Rogkavopoulos. Two straight baskets by Matt Costello in the low post put the home team up 12-8; and although Mario Hezonja scored a triple just after returning from a television timeout, Vanja Marinkovic responded with another.

Codi Miller-McIntyre extended Baskonista’s lead (17-11) with a running dunk and Dzanan Musa immediately responded with a triple, linked with a layup by Walter Tavares. By then, American point guard Markus Howard, Baskonia’s great weapon, but a regular substitute in the plans of his coach, Dusko Ivanovic, had already taken the field.

The white team pushed to defend it and that had an impact on the attack, with a rush to tie the contest twice (20-20, 22-22). This is how the first quarter ended, the subsequent pause of which lasted quite a while due to several failures in the table clock, leaving the pavilion’s video scoreboards inactive.

Both teams even started to warm up when they noticed that the break was longer than usual. Once the problem was solved by the competition’s technicians together with those of the Vitorian club, a triple by Howard warned Real Madrid of the danger that was coming. There was only one triple from Hezonja in the next three minutes, until they were down 37-27.

Sergio Llull ended the local streak and also led a 2-7 run that gave his team some air. Sergio Rodríguez had initialed that merengue reaction with a frontal triple, which despite everything was answered by another Marinkovic side. The inspiration was running through neighborhoods and Ivanovic’s pupils stretched their lead to 46-38, after a basket on the board by Miller-McIntyre thanks to an effective assist from Maik Kotsar.

If Howard didn’t appear, Miller-McIntyre was there to forge Baskonist attacks. An assist from him resulted in another triple from Marinkovic that made it 49-40 with 3:15 left in the break. ‘Edy’ Tavares closed the gap with his dominance under the rival basket, but Costello once again established the +10 (52-42) after a new success from beyond the arc.

‘Chacho’ Rodríguez was no less, who hit a free three-point shot from the side and then fed the shots of ‘Edy’ Tavares and Guerschon Yabusele inside the paint. That alleviated the disadvantage of the visitors, who despite everything reached the intermission 56-52 down due to a basket by Chris Chiozza, the first and only one for him in this match.

Despite Real Madrid’s good return from the locker room, the Alava team once again raised their bet with the outside shot until they were 70-60 thanks to Marinkovic’s fifth triple. Mateo entrusted himself to the intimidation of Tavares in defensive tasks, which gave relief to his teammates to gradually seek the umpteenth comeback.

Gaby Deck and Facu Campazzo joined Hezonja with that mission and the third period closed at 73-72. Deck himself, with a triple, put the meringues ahead, but Howard scored seven consecutive points to once again cheer up the Buesa Arena. However, they lowered that soufflé with a triple from Hezonja, another later from Llull and a mid-range shot from Yabusele.

A subsequent error by Costello preceded a counterattack guided by ‘Chacho’, whose assistance Yabusele took advantage of to set the score at 80-85 on the pavilion’s electronics. Ivanovic called a timeout, but it was of little use because Yabusele himself stole a ball and Llull punished his rivals in that play by scoring a lateral triple to make it 80-88.

Although Howard emerged to cover the wound, his triple was replicated by a triple from Yabusele, who ‘ipso facto’ scored another basket (86-93) after a new assist from ‘Chacho’. Baskonia wasted the next attack and Tavares was fouled in the fight for an offensive rebound later, with 3:24 left until the final blow.

Llull missed another three-point shot, Miller-McIntyre grabbed the rebound and galloped to open the ball to Rogkavopoulos, who nailed a three-pointer. The mantle of hero on this occasion seemed reserved for Miller-McIntyre, who made a penetration into the Merengue hoop and Costello dunked the ball with a dunk that made it 91-93.

On the Madrid side, Yabusele had taken the reins in attack, although Miller-McIntyre brought Baskonia closer (93-95) with a 2+1, incomplete since he missed the additional free throw. Then Campazzo reappeared, a little gray during the second half of the game, to despair the Vitorian team after seven points in a row and which ruled the sentence.

The laurels did not finally go to Howard, a true reflection of Baskonia’s fatigue and author of a turnover, along with a missed triple in the very last possessions of the local attack. There the path of Ivanovic’s team ended in this competition, where the defending champion will go to Berlin at the end of this month in search of another crown.


–RESULT: BASKONIA, 98 – REAL MADRID, 102 (56-52, at halftime).


BASKONIA: Miller-McIntyre (17), Marinkovic (17), Rogkavopoulos (18), Sedekerskis (2) and Costello (11) –starting quintet–; Howard (29), Kotsar (2), Chiozza (2), Raieste (-) and Díez (-).

REAL MADRID: Campazzo (13), Musa (3), Hezonja (16), Yabusele (23) and Tavares (12) –starting quintet–; Deck (13), Poirier (8), Llull (8), Sergio Rodríguez (6) and Rudy Fernández (-).

–PARTIALS: 22-22, 34-30, 17-20 and 25-30.

–REFEREES: Lottermoser, Nikolic and Pastusiak. No eliminated.

–PAVILLION: Fernando Buesa Arena, 13,186 spectators.