Lenovo Tenerife is the first semifinalist of the Copa del Rey 2021. And it is after beating Hereda San Pablo Burgos in a match that he controlled from the end of the first quarter and that faced the last two champions of the Intercontinental: the Canaries won the 2020 edition and the Castilians, the 2021, less than a week in Buenos Aire (Argentina). Reflection of the good state of Spanish basketball.
It is the third time that the islanders overcome the barrier of the quarters in their six appearances since they were promoted from LEB Oro in 2012. The Castilians, for their part, leave Madrid with a bittersweet flavor: on the one hand, reaching their first ever Cup only four years after joining the Endesa League and, on the other hand, that of having been clearly outmatched by their rival. They had almost no options to take another step in their incredible story. Another year will be. That’s for sure.
The first part was quite an offensive display. Goodbye defense, who cares? Here we have come to honor the Cup, even if it is strange without fans in the stands (very cold without them). Lenovo and Hereda were thrown into the open grave in the first quarter. Without truce. Blow by blow, each tried to advance an inch more than his rival on the battlefield: from 0-3 by Miquel Salvó, who opened the cup tournament, to 9-13 after Rivero’s basket there was no peace. They were blows that served to measure the resistance capacity of each one … until the figure of Sasu Salin emerged on the horizon of the perimeter as a legendary hero of the Wild West. And like Jesse James, he didn’t stop shooting and hitting the target.
The Finn was sublime from the line of three. In motion or static, going through blocks like a hot knife, with its torque at two centimeters or two meters. The escort took no prisoners, and his cover sheet gleamed: a 3/4 of three in the first quarter and a 2/3 in the second. In total, 5/7 for 18 points in 15 minutes. Unstoppable and almost pristine. Like the Lenovo, with a 10/13 (13/26 at the end). They were three hits more than two (7/14) and from the staff (7/7) in the initial 20 minutes.
And so, of course, Tenerife took off. Burgos found neither rhythm nor game. Nor comfort up and down. Cook was the only one who seemed to respond in the debutants. But it was not enough to face an enemy who gave his first blow in the last 120 seconds of the first quarter with a partial 16-4 (25-17). Salin started with two triples, followed by Cavanaugh and Sulejmanovic, with one per beard, and Fitipaldo and Guerra closed, this time, with only two points each.
From Salin to Fitipaldo
It was only the beginning. Salin’s inspiration was joined by Fitipaldo’s (and Shermadini’s eternal presence: 12 points). The Uruguayan, 18 points and 6 assists for a PIR of 19, shot Lenovo to +15 (41-26) with two triples. San Pablo would manage to lower the rent to just 9 (51-42), but he was on the ropes. It was not a question of more or less wide distances on the scoreboard, it was a pure sense of Canarian superiority, who knows the cupbearer’s trade better. He knew when to step on the gas or relax to gain momentum and deliver deadly blows on his rival, who lived with the sporadic bites of Horton, Rivero, McFadden. Faced with such a rocky Tenerife, so well worked in all facets, not having (or not being able to have) continuity on the track is practically a death sentence.
The return from rest was the clearest example… and most definitive. The Hereda came to caress the comeback (53-51) with a fit of faith. A mirage. The Vidorreta barrage of reply was great: 16-0 to meet a +18 (69-51, min 29), the maximum advantage of the match. 8 points from McFadden gave air to Peñarroya (71-59), but it didn’t matter. It was a want and I cannot, and Tenerife is already waiting for a rival: Real Madrid or Valencia.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.