FC Barcelona needed to wait longer than ever to return to the Turkish Airways EuroLeague Last 4 and after an extended, thrilling collection towards Zenit St Petersburg, the Blaugrana can have a good time a spot on the end-of-season occasion in Cologne, Germany. It did so with nice authority, profitable all 4 quarters in Sport 5 on its solution to a no-doubt-about-it 79-53 victory. Zenit had a bitter finish to an in any other case unbelievable EuroLeague season, however Barcelona gave the Russian powerhouse no probability at Palau Blaugrana.
“I feel we had a superb season within the EuroLeague and naturally, now that we have been on this state of affairs, we wished to win however clearly, Barcelona is healthier than us,” Zenit coach Xavi Pascual mentioned after the sport. “They’ve extra high quality, extra expertise, extra physicality, extra every thing, and it was apparent tonight.”
This marks Barcelona’s fifteenth time reaching the Last 4 because the format was adopted in 1988. By no means earlier than had Barcelona gone greater than three years with no Last 4 look. It now returns seven years later with Pau Gasol, who will get a second shot to win the competitors in its signature occasion.
Gasol performed on the 2000 EuroLeague Last 4 in Thessaloniki, Greece, and has one other shot to elevate the trophy for the primary time. On Tuesday, Gasol performed his finest EuroLeague sport since he returned to Barcelona and did it on the most decisive second. He completed the sport with 7 factors, 3 rebounds and three steals for a PIR of 16. Gasol additionally had 4 blocks, which matched the EuroLeague Playoffs file shared by 10 gamers and tied most just lately by Jan Vesely of Fenerbahce Istanbul in 2017. The final Barcelona participant to reject 4 photographs in a playoff sport was Gregor Fucka towards Actual Madrid in April 2006.
“We did not perceive; we thought we have been signing Gasol, however we signed Mutombo during the sport, you realize?” Barcelona head coach Sarunas Jasikevicius joked after the sport. “For certain, that is one thing to grasp for the gamers, how troublesome it’s to go to the Last 4. However on the similar time, a membership like Barcelona needs to be there extra instances and that is what we are going to attempt to do. We’ll attempt to construct one thing right here and hopefully, we will make it extra years in a row.”
Gasol helped Barcelona end the sport with 9 blocks, which matched the membership’s playoff file. Barcelona beforehand had 9 blocks towards Actual Madrid on April 4, 2006. It tied the second-best mark in playoff historical past; Actual additionally had 9 blocks towards Maccabi Tel Aviv on April 12, 2013. Fortitudo Bologna had 11 blocks towards Cibona Zagreb on February 8, 2001; Stojan Vrankovic had 10 of these, which remains to be a EuroLeague file.
“That is the kind of effort that it’s going to take to any extent further. I feel we have now to grasp that each sport goes to be closing, it’s going to be the identical method,” Gasol mentioned after the sport. “Immediately, it was a very good step forwards for me. I had a very good week practising, had a few good weeks practising, and I simply wish to proceed to really feel higher, getting in higher form so I will help extra and contribute like I did at the moment.”
Jasikevicius already made Last 4 historical past as a participant, changing into the primary – and thus far solely – participant to win the EuroLeague with three completely different groups – Barcelona, Maccabi Tel Aviv and Panathinaikos Athens. Kyle Hines and Sergio Rodriguez of AX Amrnai Alternate have an opportunity to hitch Jasikevicius on this unique membership. Saras can turn out to be the fourth individual to win the EuroLeague as a participant and coach. Solely Armenak Alachachan, Lolo Sainz and Stevislav Pesic have managed to do this, however none of them gained each titles within the Last 4 period.
Barcelona is now set to tackle Milan within the EuroLeague Semifinals at Lanxess Area in Cologne on Friday, Might 28.