A decade later, Baskonia has done it again. The people of Vitoria won another Endesa League title against a Barça has failed with a crash in the season in which they invested as never before and in which they leave blank. If 10 years ago, Fernando San Emeterio entered the legend of the Basque team with a basket in the last seconds, this time it was the Argentine Luca Vildoza who decided three seconds from the end.
The title has a special sentimental component for Dusko Ivanovic, who returned to the team this year to win another title when it seemed nothing short of impossible. Baskonia had not won a title for exactly a decade and they did it against all odds. Mirotic is highly marked in this final for not being sent off in the final minutes for a foul and for finishing with -1 valuation.
The match started with a very aggressive Baskonia in defense. Ivanovic’s boys surprised a Barça who appeared very erratic in the shot of three and with a Mirotic that played in slow motion in front of the athletic rival forwards. The people of Vitoria they got to leave by six points during the first period until Barça reacted with the entry of Heurtel.
The French base led a partial 7-0 to close the first quarter and put theirs in front on the scoreboard. A great streak by Kuric – 8 points with no shot missed – put the ground in front of a Baskonia that could not find ways to score easily. Shields’ impudence was the only good news for the Basques in front of a Shengeila about whom there was no great news.
Barça got to leave by a dozen points, but his escape was minimally neutralized by an Ilimane Diop who asserted his physical superiority on the boards. The rental of six points at half-time was just enough for a game in which Mirotic was practically unpublished with six points and 1 valuation.
The start of the second half confirmed that Baskonia was not going to sell her skin cheap. Vildoza took a step forward with two practically consecutive triples to equalize the score to 41 points. The Argentine base was devastated in every way, infecting colleagues who had remained far from his level as Shengeila.
The end of the third quarter saw how Barça was drying its wick. The Catalans got only 12 points in 12 minutes, while Baskonia went as far as three goals after a Janning streak. Barça was against the ropes three minutes after the last period. It was then that Higgins appeared to justify his status on the team with five consecutive points.
The people of Vitoria had doubts, but Shengeila managed to get Mirotic out of the match five minutes from the end after being sent off for fouls. The Endesa League MVP finished with -1 valuation and a poor 4 of 13 in field goals.
Baskonia was in control of the match in the last minutes against a totally misplaced Barça without his star. The Vitorians, after forgiving several baskets of three, saw Oriola tie the game at 67 points 10 seconds from the end. It was then that Vildoza appeared with a magical back door and the rest is history. Barça have failed one more season.