In its home win over Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt on Tuesday, Unicaja Malaga's second unit possessed qualities that many other teams would be more than happy to have in their starting fives. At point guard was 2017 EuroCup Finals MVP Alberto Diaz; on the wings were elite shooter Adam Waczynski and Spanish national team member Dani Diez; and providing power in the paint was Mathias Lessort, who finished third in last season's Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Rising Star vote. On this night, however the biggest difference-maker of them all was veteran power forward Carlos Suarez.
Suarez did a little bit of everything to finish with 5 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists for a performance index rating of 19 in just 18 minutes on the floor. He was at his best in a four-minute stretch to open the second quarter that put Unicaja in control for good. Suarez assisted on four scoring plays – Lessort's three-point play, buckets by Waczynski and Diez, and a three-pointer by the latter – before hitting a triple himself. He also grabbed 4 rebounds and drew an offensive foul from Skyliners center Jonas Wohlfarth-Bottermann as Unicaja turned a 21-14 cushion into a nearly insurmountable 34-16 lead.
The run ended when Suarez, 32, returned to the bench, having showed his versatility again, this time with great passing that surprised the visitors and set the tone for an impressive win. By the time Suarez was subbed, Unicaja had left the clear impression that teams will have a tough time matching up with its second unit this season.