Unicaja Malaga returns to the 7DAYS EuroCup for its third go-round in the competition. Founded in 1977 as Club Baloncesto Caja de Ronda, it wasn't until 1992 – when it merged with cross-town rival Maristas – that the club started to challenge for bigger goals. Everything clicked in 1995 when Unicaja came within a shot of winning its first Spanish League title. Mike Ansley missed that shot in Game 4 of the finals and the club would have to wait until 2001 before it could celebrate its first crown. That time, led by Coach Bozidar Maljkovic and star scorer Veljko Mrsic, Unicaja was finally rewarded by winning the Korac Cup over Hemofarm Vrsac in a two-game final series. Unicaja followed that success by reaching the Spanish League finals in 2002 and the EuroLeague Top 16 for the first time in 2003, which proved to be the cornerstone of a bright future. In 2005, Unicaja lifted the Spanish Copa del Rey trophy for its first domestic title behind star forward Jorge Garbajosa. Things got even better the next season: Unicaja won the Spanish League championship with Garbajosa and home-grown talents Berni Rodriguez and Carlos Cabezas among those leading the way for Coach Sergio Scariolo. Unicaja marked its greatest continental success to date by reaching the 2007 EuroLeague Final Four in Athens, led by Daniel Santiago, Carlos Jimenez, Cabezas and Rodriguez. Even though CSKA stopped Unicaja in the semifinal, the club had confirmed its status among the European elite. Unicaja advanced to the Copa del Rey title game in 2009 before losing in overtime against Tau Ceramica Vitoria. Despite the lack of trophies, Unicaja has been consistent, especially with its long Top 16 run in the EuroLeague. Unicaja made it to the EuroLeague Top 16 in 11 consecutive seasons, an achievement that only FC Barcelona and Panathinaikos Athens matched. Coach Joan Plaza and players like Jayson Granger, Carlos Suarez and Fran Vazquez kept Unicaja competitive as the team reached the Spanish League semifinals in 2014 and 2015. Unicaja made its EuroCup debut in 2016-17 a spectacular one, overcoming the lack of home-court advantage in three playoff series to claim the title. In its return to the EuroLeague, Unicaja had a bunch of prestige wins, including two against defending champ Fenerbahce, but fell one place short of the playoffs. Last season, Unicaja reached the EuroCup and the Spanish League quarterfinals. Unicaja looks ready to challenge for an even longer run in what could be an interesting 2019-20 season.
|Korac Cup: 2001
|Spanish National League: 2005-06
|Spanish National Cup "Copa del Rey": 2005