Road to the Playoffs: Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz

Apr 14, 2017 by Euroleague.net Print

Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz was in a tough spot coming into the season after making the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four last season and then losing several pillars of that success, including its head coach and four core players.

The task for new boss Sito Alonso was huge and got a boost when Baskonia handed Real Madrid its sole home loss this season, 87-91 in Round 3.

It was in Round 10 that things started to really gel with the first four straight wins, which saw Baskonia climb into a tied for second-place and hold that status with a 10-5 record going into the new year.

However, a pair of three-game losing streaks, including an unexpected 69-87 collapse at home to Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade, suddenly dropped the team to 12-11 and eighth place with just seven regular season games remaining. Typically, Baskonia responded with character, winning its next four, including a huge decisions at Fenerbahce Istanbul and at home against defending champion CSKA Moscow.

A monumental 71-96 road win at Brose Bamberg in Round 27 led to Baskonia clinching a playoffs berth, but 48 hours later the team fell hard at home to Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens, which all but killed its chances of gaining home-court advantage in the next phase.

It wasn't always a pleasant ride to the playoffs for Baskonia, which lost 12 games and was on the bubble for elimination as late as Round 23, but finally finished in seventh place.

Nonetheless, Baskonia is one of just two EuroLeague clubs to have won playoffs series without home-court advantage twice times. And Fernando Buesa Arena remains a tough place to visit as Baskonia finished 10-5 at home this season.

Five players from last season's team experienced a playoffs sweep a year ago to secure the team's first Final Four appearance in eight years. You can be sure they want to return and to show their new teammates the way there.