Monday’s Copa del Rey draw in Malaga:: salvador salas
Malaga is set to host this year’s Spanish basketball cup competition with eight teams competing to be named the Copa del Rey champions. Malaga’s Unicaja have been placed against Cai Zaragoza in the quarterfinals with the possibility of a semifinal against favourites Real Madrid.
The tournament starts on 6th February and lasts for four days with the top eight teams within the Spanish League taking part. Each year the competition is hosted in a different city, with this year’s event taking place in Malaga’s Palacio de Deportes José María Martín Carpena.
It is estimated that around 9,000 players and fans will travel to the city for the tournament, which is the most important in the Spanish basketball calendar.
President of the Malaga Provincial Government, Elías Bendodo, stated, “I can knowingly say that this is the best sporting event of our country. It mobilises, excites and generates more adrenaline than any other”.
Tuesday’s draw was carried out by Malaga CF manager, Bernd Schuster, and Carolina Navarro, the Women’s Padel World Champion.
Unicaja’s road to the final
Unicaja Malaga have only won the competition once in its 78 year history and this year have been drawn in the quarterfinals against Cai Zaragoza, who have beaten them in their previous four meetings.
However, Unicaja player Fran Vázquez noted, “We want revenge. The most important thing is to stay focused and be hopeful that we can win.”
This is be the first year that Unicaja head coach Joan Plaza leads the team in the tournament, having previously managed a successful Real Madrid side. Real are favourites to win as they remain unbeaten in this season’s league. Meanwhile, Unicaja lie fourth in the league winning 11 out of 17 games.
Unicaja will be relying on the support of their fans and their home advantage. Plaza hopes that the Cup will reignite interest in his team. “This tournament has to be a turning point for us to win back people who have been unhappy with the team,” he said.