FC Regal Barcelona felt it’s first taste of defeat in the Spanish Liga Endesa at the hands of Bilbao Basket on Sunday. The loss also knocks Barca off the pole position it once held. Real Madrid is now the last remaining undefeated team in the league. FCB Regal, now at 5-1, joins Herbalife Gran Canaria 2014 and Valencia Basket in a three-way tie for second as competition heats up even further.
Bilbao Basket vs. Regal FC Barcelona, 80:72
Last night was a bitter reminder that you cannot take teams for granted, especially in a competitive league such as Spain’s Liga Endesa. Upsets can happen at any time. Bilbao Basket was winless and at the time ranked 18th in the league when they pulled it off.
Bostjan Nachbar had an off night for Barca and managed only eight points. He was held down mostly thanks to early foul trouble. Juan Carlos Navarro could not bail out his team with outside shooting, making only two of his six attempts from beyond the three-point arc. He was able to tally 13 points for his team, but with Barecelona’s inside-outside combo running, things were grim for the former league leaders. Barca was able to keep things close for most of the game and even finished the first three frames with a three point lead. It was a 26-15 rally in the fourth by the home team that allowed them to surge ahead and eventually send Nachbar and company backpedaling on defense. Kostas Papanikolaou was accurate from the outside, nailing five of his nine treys en route to his game-high 19 points, but only he and Navarro were able to crack the double-digit scoring barrier.
Bilbao’s offense was keyed by Latvian import Dairis Bertans who had a team-high 16 points and five rebounds. Local player German Gabriel was able to chip in 15 points as well, while Raul Lopez added 14 of his own to round out the team’s top three performers for the evening.
Laboral Kutxa Vitoria (3-3) dispatched of Unicaja Malaga (4-2), 82:75, handing them just their second loss of the regular season.
Real Madrid (6-0), as expected, cruised passed Gran Canaria 2014 (5-1) to keep their untarnished record intact, 75:70.
La Bruixa D’or Manresa (3-3) came away with a close three-point win over Blancos de Rueda Valladolid, 75:72, to keep BdR amongst the struggling bottom teams.
Cajasol Sevilla (3-3) evened things out in the standings with CAI Zaragoza (3-3), thanks to a 74:66 victory.