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The Unicaja players with the FIBA Champions League title trophy. BCL
Unicaja cement place among Europe's elite with Champions League victory
Basketball

Unicaja cement place among Europe's elite with Champions League victory

The Malaga basketball team beat Lenovo Tenerife in Sunday's final in Belgrade to claim only their third-ever continental prize

Juan Calderón / Pedro Luis Alonso

Belgrade / Malaga

Monday, 29 April 2024, 07:27

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Unicaja confirmed their place among Europe's elite basketball clubs as they clinched the FIBA Champions League title with a dazzling 80-75 victory over Lenovo Tenerife in the final held in Belgrade on Sunday night.

From the tournament's outset in October, Unicaja were earmarked as possible title contenders and Ibon Navarro's team have consistently proved their mettle on the court this season.

Having overcome the formidable UCAM Murcia in the semi-finals (80-74) on Friday, Unicaja delivered a defensive masterclass against Tenerife on Sunday night, particularly targeting key players like Marcelinho Huertas and Kyle Guy.

The Unicaja players celebrate the final whistle.
The Unicaja players celebrate the final whistle. EFE

Relentless energy

This collective effort, spearheaded by Alberto Díaz against the Brazilian playmaker, effectively neutralised their opponents' playmaking abilities on the night. And despite brief flashes of resistance from Tenerife, Unicaja's relentless energy kept their opponents at bay.

Their commanding 38-27 lead at half time reflected their dominance, setting the stage for a remarkable second half which commenced with a dazzling display from Unicaja, with Djedovic's consecutive three-pointers threatening to overwhelm Tenerife.

Although Tenerife staged a comeback, spurred on by Huertas, Unicaja maintained their composure, extending their lead once again.

As the final quarter unfolded, Unicaja remained composed, efficiently managing their lead and thwarting any attempt at a Tenerife comeback.

Despite some tense moments towards the end, including missed opportunities for Tenerife, Unicaja's resilience ultimately secured them the championship title.

The players with the trophy.
The players with the trophy. J. Calderón

Historic moment

Following their success in the 2023 Copa del Rey and the Super Cup final, fans of the Malaga-based club are now witnessing one of the finest moments in the club's history.

This victory, which secured the club's third international title, could well be just a springboard for further success this year as the side chases down victory in the Liga Endesa, too.

What's more, their Champions League triumph also earns Unicaja a ticket to compete in the prestigious Intercontinental Cup, potentially writing another exciting chapter into their story.

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