Spanish Liga Endesa Round 9 Recap

Spanish Liga Endesa

Round 9 of the 2015-16 regular season in the Spanish Liga Endesa was both exciting and action-packed. Valencia Basket continues its reign over the league and remains the last team to taste defeat. They visited struggling Sevilla Basket and came away with a 67-81 road victory. Rafael Martinez exploded for 22 points to lead Valencia. The loss dropped Sevilla to 3-6 and they fall to 15th place in the league standings. Valencia has been having success in the Eurocup as well. They are 8-0 and lead Group C.

Not too far behind Valencia are popular league rivals FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. Both sit at second and third places, respectively, but have identical 8-1 records. Real Madrid had a successful home defense in their game against UCAM Murcia and finished off their guests 101-80. Jaycee Carroll and Sergio Llull paced Real Madrid with 16 points each. Thomas Kelati led UCAM Murcia with 18 points.

Barcelona took to the road and they secured their eighth win of the season in Manresa against La Bruixa d’Or, 60-75. Barca led this game from start to finish and asserted their dominance from the get-go. The loss takes Manresa down to 11th place in the league with their 4-5 record.

One of the key games of the round was between Baskonian club Laboral Kutxa Vitoria and Iberostar Tenerife CB Canarias. Laboral Kutxa fell at home, 92-98 and were at the painful end of this upset game. This was just the third win in the season for Iberostar Tenerife and its timing could not have been better. They are looking to get on a winning streak and it was impressive that they secured this win at the expense of one of the league’s Top 4 teams. This was just the second loss for Laboral Kutxa and they are expected to regroup and get back on track soon enough. Blagota Sekulic erupted for 29 points and could not be contained. He was an efficient 12-of-15 from the field and 4-of-5 from the free throw line.

Rounding out the league’s Top 5 is Gran Canaria 2014, which secured its sixth win of the season. They protected their homecourt with an exciting 88-75 win over Rio Natura Monbus Obradoiro CAB. Gran Canaria were simply in better form and executed smart basketball. Their 37-to-20 rebounding advantage and 22-to-15 lead in assists told the story. Kevin Pangos and Alen Omic led Gran Canaria, 21 and 17 points respectively. They overcame a big game from Rio Natura’s Adam Waczynski who got hot from the outside and ended the game scoring 24 points for his team.

Unicaja Malaga (5-4) bumped up to sixth place on the heels of their 84-90 win on the road against FIATC Joventut. Unicaja rallied in the second quarter to seize the lead from their hosts and ended the first half with a 46-51 lead. After the break, the guests continued their aggressive play which ballooned their lead even further by 10 more points. FIATC got their bearings in the fourth frame, but it was too little and too late, as Unicaja Malaga held on for the win.

Perhaps the most thrilling game in the round was between Estudiantes Madrid and CAI Zargazoa. It needed an extra period to come to a resolution. At the end of the day, it was the visiting CAI Zaragoza that took the win 110-116 (OT). The high-scoring affair came as no surprise as three of CAI Zaragoza’s players were able to score 20 or more points. Robin Benzing led all scorers with a game-high 25 points. Joan Sastre Morro chipped 23 points, while Stevan Jelovac added 20 points of his own in the winning effort. Dario Brizuela led Estudiantes with 25 points. This was an important game for CAI Zaragoza, being an upset win over a higher ranked team. They are now 2-7 but are looking to build on the momentum they got in this game. FIATC Joventut is now 5-4 and they fall to eighth place.

Two games were played on Saturday. Fuenlabrada defeated Bilbao Basket, 79-75 at home. Morabanc Andorra denied Gipuzkoa San Sebastian their first win of the season. 88-70.

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