2019-20 Games to Watch: KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz

Aug 21, 2019 by Euroleague.net Print
2019-20 Games to Watch: KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz

KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz has been to the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Playoffs in each of the last four seasons to confirm its status as a serious continental force. This season the club looks to make its first Final Four trip since 2016 and these are some of the big games it must face along the way.

Round 1: Back to Kaunas

For the second season in a row, Baskonia will play its season opener on the road at Zalgirio Arena and Coach Velimir Perasovic's men will try to repeat their recent success against the Lithuanian champs. Baskonia has won four straight against Zalgiris including that 79-87 decision in Round 1 last season in which Jayson Granger led five Baskonia scorers – four of whom remain on the team this season – in double figures with 15 points.

Round 9: The champs come to town

Over the last three season, Baskonia and CSKA Moscow have met in the playoffs twice and the Russian team has advanced to the Final Four each time, so the fans in Vitoria certainly hold a grudge against the defending champs. As if that was not enough, this game will mark the returns of Johannes Voigtmann, Darrun Hilliard and Mike James to Basque Country to play against the team that they used to call home. There will be plenty of incentives to keep all eyes on this game, a matchup that is becoming a EuroLeague classic in its own right.

Round 15: Real's Laso returns home

Games against Real Madrid are always a big showdown for Baskonia, both in the EuroLeague and domestic competitions. Last season, Baskonia won a big game that boosted its playoff hopes. Over the summer Los Blancos extended the contract of one of the most charismatic players to play in Baskonia this decade, Fabien Causeur, plus of course, Real head coach Pablo Laso is a Vitoria-Gasteiz native whose first success as a player came with Baskonia and he always enjoys returning home, even if it is to play against his club of origin.

Round 30: A family affair with Efes

When playing Anadolu Efes, Baskonia will also meet some former friends in Shane Larkin, Tibor Pleiss and Rodrigue Beaubois, all three of them players who have spent time in Vitoria-Gasteiz. Not to mention that coach Velimir Perasovic and guard Jayson Granger of Baskonia were also with Efes in the past. Last season Baskonia lost both regular-season games against Efes, including one at home by 92-102. It will be almost a family affair when these two teams meet again in the 2019-20 season.

Round 33: Another chapter in the Valencia rivalry

These teams have an interesting rivalry that has only gotten better over the years. Valencia forward Fernando San Emeterio earned 2010-11 All-EuroLeague First Team honors while playing for Baskonia. Toko Shengelia of Baskonia won the 2010 EuroCup title with Valencia. Baskonia head coach Velimir Perasovic coached Valencia to the 2014 EuroCup title. The teams are used to facing each other at the higher stages of their domestic competitions. In their last EuroLeague matchups in the 2017-18 season, Valencia and Baskonia exchanged road wins. Anything can happen this time, too, especially in the penultimate regular season contest!