• The 'taronja' team dethrones the current champion of the competition (78-82)
Photo: EFE

The ambitious project of Barça has suffered its wreck after being eliminated at the first exchange in the Copa del Rey in Malaga, where Valencia Basket (78-82) has won a deserved victory by Mike Tobey (16 points) to dethrone an opponent who has not been enough with the talent of Nikola Mirotic (25).

After fitting four defeats this season against Barça, Valencia claimed revenge on the day that mattered most to return to the Cup semifinals three seasons later. For its part, the Barca team fits its second loss in the quarterfinals in the last 12 years and gets off the throne after claiming champion in 2018 and 2019.

Only Mirotic and Víctor Claver (15 and 20 valuation) met in a club that accused the little contribution of their pivots and especially their bench, which only contributed 12 points for the 48 that added the substitutes 'taronja', with Special mention also for Aaron Doornekamp (12).

The 84th edition of the Cup began with 24 seconds of silence in memory of Robert Archibald and Kobe Bryant, and it was Claver who imbued himself with the spirit of the 'Mamba' with four triples without fail in the first half. Barça hit the first stretch raised on the shoulders of the Valencian (8-0), but Fernando San Emeterio pulled veteran to activate his team and condemned his opponent to go towing during the rest of the afternoon.

It was difficult for Mirotic to enter the game, the most stunned in the presentation and returning to the court where he had played his last cupper game, the one he left as MVP six years ago and dressed in white. Good defense of Louis Labeyrie over the Barca star, at times as cold as the rest of his team.

Thus, between the end of the first quarter and the beginning of the second Barça spent more than seven minutes without scoring and his laziness extended to the defense, shaken mercilessly by Valencia, who scored a staggering 0-20 partial ( 18-32, min. 14) with prominence for his interiors Mike Tobey and Aaron Doornekamp.

Mirotic is left alone, the champion melts

Svestislav Pesic turned his finger to Malcolm Delaney, much more clairvoyant than Adam Hanga in the game direction, and Barca reacted to the rhythm that Mirotic, his undisputed thermometer, so feared by Jaume Ponsarnau. After the plug of the omnipresent Claver and triple of Delaney, the Catalan club rebalanced the scoreboard just before the break (38-38, min.20), which both teams arrived exceeding 50% of success in triples.

After passing through changing rooms, the Valencia bench completed a huge third quarter again and another large 0-14 partial was scored to let his fans begin to dream (52-64, min.30). Mirotic began to remain very alone on the side 'culé' and his step on the bench coincided with another scoring drought exceeding six minutes.

So the champion started the last quarter 12 points down and Tobey extended the comeback attempt multiplying under the hoops and doing a lot of damage in the offensive rebound. Everything seemed resolved in the absence of less than three minutes (66-76), but Pesic's pupils pulled pride for a final start

With more claw than order, they were filing their disadvantage until they were three points down, with possession and 7 seconds left (77-80). However, Labeyrie committed a very smart foul on Cory Higgins to prevent him from getting up from triple and, in the second free throw of the American, Alberto Abalde took the final rebound. The two free throws of the Spanish eaves topped the Barca body.


–OUTCOME: BARÇA, 78 – VALENCIA BASKET, 82 (38-41 at rest).


BARÇA: Delaney (10), Higgins (10), Claver (15), Mirotic (25) and Tomic (6) – initial quintet–; Hanga (3), Abrines (2), Davies (5), Kuric (-) and Oriola (2).

VALENCIA BASKET: You live (5), Tailor (2), San Emeterio (8), Ndour (6) and Dubljevic (13) – initial quintet–; Labeyrie (2), Colom (9), Tobey (16), Doornekamp (12) and Abalde (9).

–PARTIALS: 18-19, 20-22, 14-23 and 26-18.

– ARBITRATORS: Pérez Pizarro, Cortés and Castillo. Without eliminated.

–PAVILION: Martin Carpena 9,857 spectators.


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