Joventut Badalona not only picked up a big road victory to remain undefeated in the 7DAYS EuroCup, but it also exhibited that the team is much deeper than many may have thought. Joventut traveled to Russia to face UNICS Kazan missing two of its top stars in Ante Tomic and Pau Ribas. In addition, backup playmaker Arturs Zagars did not play and power forward Conor Morgan was injured in the game and limped off the court after a thrilling 91-93 overtime win.
Helping make up for the absence of all that production was a trio of players who played like they have a fancy nickname, like the Killer B’s. Big man Vladimir Brodziansky came into the game averaging 12.3 points and he collected a career-high 20 points, including the game-winning hook shot with 2.8 seconds left in overtime.
Ferran Bassas showcased his tremendous playmaking ability as he concerned himself almost exclusively with getting his teammates good looks. Bassas also hit two big shots in the fourth quarter in scoring 5 points, but more importantly he dished out a career-high 13 assists, which also came up just short of Joventut’s EuroCup best mark - that being 14 by Kristaps Valters set in December 2009.
The third B, center Simon Birgander, was outstanding all game at both ends. The 23-year-old talled 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting, 9 rebounds and 3 assists for an index rating of 26. He evened his EuroCup high of 12 points but his previous best PIR had been 18.
And it wasn’t just players with surnames starting with B that stood out in the absence of Joventut’s top guns. Xabi Lopez-Arostegui tallied 16 points plus 5 rebounds and 2 steals for a personal best index rating of 22.
20-year-old power forward Joel Parra showed what he is capable of with 8 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal in 15 minutes of action. The eight points come after he had totalled 9 points in a combined 65 minutes over Joventut’s first four games.
The emergence of these players could become critical over the course of the season for Coach Carles Duran - should injuries hit the team. Having come to Russia and played a key role in knocking off a strong opponent like UNICS on the road can only help Joventut down the road.