Unicaja seeks to be in the semifinals six years later

Lenovo Tenerife, with the serious doubt of Shermadini, no longer has a margin of error after giving up home court


Unicaja de Málaga will try to repeat the victory over Lenovo Tenerife this Thursday (9:00 p.m.) and thus fasten their ticket to the semifinals of the Endesa League ‘Playoff’, an instance in which they have not been since 2017 and which they hope to certify supported by José María Martín Carpena against an opponent with no margin for error, wounded in his pride and physically ‘touched’ by a stomach virus that has affected the locker room, with ‘MVP’ Gio Shermadini as his latest victim.

The team from Malaga attacked the Santiago Martín Pavilion last Sunday, in San Cristóbal de La Laguna, with authority and a great defensive effort. The 59-72 victory allowed the Copa del Rey champion to now have the opportunity to seal their pass to the penultimate round against Txus Vidorreta’s men who blamed their poor game, with the addition of untimely gastroenteritis on several players, and who they do not want their rival to be their black beast again.

The two teams already know each other very well and have few secrets from each other, as this appointment will be the fourth time they have met in less than three weeks. In fact, on May 21, Ibon Navarro’s men won 75-71, while a week earlier, in the bittersweet fight for third place in the ‘Final Four’ of the Champions League, the triumph was from Tenerife by 79-84.

Lenovo Tenerife, who also won the duel at home in the Regular Phase (91-84), does not want Unicaja to come across them again in their dreams as they did last February, when they took the Copa del Rey from them in the Badalona Olympic by 80-83. And for this he must recover his best version, the one that he did not wear in the first duel, the only one of all those in this campaign without apparent equality.

The first thing is to see the physical state of the dressing room, apparently better except in the case of Shermadini. The Georgian was the last to fall due to the stomach virus and did not train in the previous one, so his presence is doubtful and one more problem for a team that was erratic in shooting (36% in the two and 32% in the three) and that he was overwhelmed on the rebound (40 to 27).

Unicaja, for its part, did not have its best night in the triple launch either, but above all it will have to watch the issue of losses after it was left until 4:00 p.m. at the Santiago Martín, a ballast for which it strangely did not pay a great deal. toll in a duel that always dominated.

“We have two options to win a match that would give us the tie and we have one at home, which seems less difficult than a hypothetical third. I don’t think we have to play saying that we have to win yes or yes because it can lead you to the “Things don’t start well and frustration appears. We have to worry about knowing what we have to do and put all our energy and attention into doing it, it won’t be like a game like the one on Sunday”, warned Ibon Navarro, who did not clear up the doubts about Alberto Díaz and Jonathan Barreiro, absent on Sunday.

“We traveled to Málaga with the hope of returning the series to Tenerife and we are preparing the game conscientiously. We are going to do different things and try to surprise. We have to improve in two fundamental aspects, such as the defensive transition, which was not all that good which must be against a team that we know wants to always play fast, and improve our finishing in open shots”, pointed out Txus Vidorrera, who does not hide that they lacked “energy and health”, but also “basketball”.



UNICAJA: Perry, Carter, Djedovic, Sima and Ejim –possible starting five–; Kalinoski, Barreiro, Diaz, Thomas, Kravish, Osetkowski and Brizuela.

LENOVO TENERIFE: Huertas, Fitipaldo, Cook, Doornekamp and Shermadini –possible starting five–; Fernández, Sastre, Salin, Abromaitis, Bolmaro, Rodríguez, Diagné and Guerra.

–REFEREES: Pérez Pizarro, Castillo and Sánchez Cutillas.

–PAVILION: José María Martín Carpena.

–TIME: 21.00/#Let’s go.