It was another victory of merit, of prestige, of greater rank. After beating Real Madrid (94-89) and Barcelona (85-83) at the Príncipe Felipe pavilion, Casademont also overturned all expectations against Valencia Basket (86-75). He did so after an intense and exciting game, at the top, where he showed character, discipline and conviction, also showing an agile, cheerful, dynamic and incisive game, sometimes brilliant. The Levantine team is an imposing block, with exceptional physical abilities and a range of devastating resources; but he was left with no answers before the excellent performance of the Zaragozas, which was colossally accentuated in the last quarter.
Despite the absence of Iván Cruz, Dino Radoncic and Howard Sant-Roos, who injured his right ankle in the first action of the match, Casademont always believed in winning And ended up getting his reward. Basketball was fair and rewarded the most tenacious.
10 days before the end of the competition, the Zaragoza team has four wins over Real Betis, penultimate placed, which also excels in the particular ‘basketaverage’. Salvation is already a few inches away.
Casademont has already issued very positive signs at the beginning. Solid in defense, with almost no cracks, he neutralized the attacks of a rival who stood out for his goalscorer (84.5 points per game). And in the attack, he conducted himself with discretion and solvency, with an unexpected ease, which gave him good shooting situations from all positions. Yusta kicked with a triple and then with a penetration, while Hlinason and Wright punished Valencia’s inattentions in the paint.
In this scenario, the locals not only continued ahead in the middle of the first act (11-9), but also extended the advantage later, with points from Wright and Ponitka (20-15), again after significant defensive disagreements of the Levantine team. Eight minutes of play passed. The coach of the visiting team, Álex Mumbrú, had to interrupt a duel that bothered her. After the time limit, Valencia leveled the dispute with two solo plays by Rivero and Evans, and a shot from the perimeter by Víctor Claver. Casademont, however, continued to dominate the duel at the end of the opening act (24-22), with a basket worthy of Borisa Simanic.
In the second quarter, Valencia reinforced behind, with all that that implies. It was, now an energetic and disciplined block, and the Aragonese failed to score for five consecutive attacks. An unproductive stretch that resulted in the score, after free throws by Jasiel Rivero and Víctor Claver (27-28). However, Casademont did not break. And he soon found the prize for his tenacity, with a three-pointer from Marcel Ponitka and three consecutive points from Mekowulu, to regain momentum (36-31).
in rest, the Aragonese team continued to dominate the duel, albeit by just two goals after a long-range shot by López-Aróstegui, executed at the bell, which hit the board to end up going into the locals’ basket (38-36). It was Valencia’s third treble in the entire first half.
Valencia increased its benefits on the restart, but Casademont remained firm, now boosted in attack by Mekowulu’s baskets (42-37). Puerto and Claver led the reaction of the visitors, who once again took the lead after two consecutive shots by Dubljevic from outside the arc (45-48). The local response was quick and forceful, with Mekowulu, Jessup and Jovic finding significant gaps in the rival defense (53-50). And although Claver, with the three points, and Dubljevic, with the personal line, have changed the scenario again (53-55), Casademont reached the half hour of the game with an advantage on the scoreboard, after a technique to James Webb – which also meant his elimination, due to five personal fouls – and free throws by Justinian Jessup and Christian Mekowulu (58-55).
In the final section, Casademont conducted himself with admirable integrity. Without Jovic on the track, Casademont lost his offensive foresight at times, but persevered in defense and knew how to level his technical inequalities in the exchange. And because he defends well, he also found easy baskets on quick counterattacks. Seven minutes from the end, the locals had a five-point lead (67-62), after a triple shot by Christian Mekowulu. Subsequently, the Nigerian increased Zaragoza’s advantage with a similar action, hitting again with a shot launched from outside the perimeter (72-62). Valencia refused to give up, but were repeatedly punished from the 6.75 line, this time with shots from Ponitka and Jessup, which further increased the distance from the locals (82-71). From then on, Casademont already felt like a winner.
Christian Mekowulu was the most productive player of the match: totaled 36 rating credits, based on 25 points, 9 rebounds and 2 assists in 31 minutes of play.
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