Credit: BasketNews/Begum Unal
Credit BasketNews/Begum Unal

FC Barcelona came back to Spain to retain their ACB title won last year, but they are not going through their best moment.

Player of the Game
Nick  Calathes
EFF
26
Nick Calathes
Points 10
Accuracy 4-6
Rebounds 9
Assists 12

After the disappointment of the EuroLeague Final Four, the team coached by Sarunas Jasikevicius opened the quarterfinals of the domestic competition with a victory against Gran Canaria 93-82 (24-17, 24-22, 19-25, 16-18).

The Catalan team faced some tough competition, arriving at the last seven and a half minutes with an advantage of only two points (72-70).

Nick Calathes, who produced 10 points, 12 assists and 9 rebounds, came very close to the triple-double against a Gran Canaria team that stayed close thanks to a zone defense deployed by Porfi Fisac. The contribution of players like Brandon Davies, Dante Exum and Sergi Martínez was also important to ensure victory on a night when Nikola Mirotic did not play a single minute in the last period.

Sarunas Jasikevicius left Nigel Hayes-Davis out of the squad due to a technical decision, and Alex Abrines, who suffered a sprained right ankle, was also out. In addition, Sertac Sanli suffered a severe blow to the head during the second quarter and was unable to play in the second half. The Turkish pivot went to the hospital to be examined.

The second game of the series will be played on Sunday at Gran Canaria, where Barca have won in the regular season. 

Chima Moneke, Manresa's big man, was also present at the Palau Blaugrana to watch his friend Dante Exum score a game-high 16 points. AJ Slaughter put up 15 for Gran Canaria.

FC Barcelona: Dante Exum 16 (5/7 FG, 4/6 FT, 5 REB), Brandon Davies 16 (6/10 FG, 4/8 FT, 6 REB), Nikola Mirotic 13 (6 REB), Cory Higgins 12 (5/8 FG), Nicolas Laprovittola 12 (3 REB, 4 AST, 4 TO), Nick Calathes 10 (4/6 FG, 9 AST, 12 REB, 2 TO, 2 ST).

Gran Canaria: AJ Slaughter 15 (715 FG, 1/2 FT, 3 AST), Artem Pustovyi 12 (5/7 FG, 4 REB), Miguel Salvo 11 (5/5 FG, 1/1 FT), John Shurna 9. 

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FC Barcelona
Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas
48%
30/62
Field goals
46%
33/72
39
Rebounds
33
26
Assists
18
10
Steals
7
14
Turnovers
12
77%
23/30
Free throws
73%
11/15

Best players

Brandon  Davies
16 PTS
6/10 FG
4/8 FT
A.J.  Slaughter
15 PTS
6/15 FG
1/2 FT
Nick  Calathes
9 REB
8 DREB
1 OREB
John  Shurna
8 REB
5 DREB
3 OREB
Nick  Calathes
12 As
2 TO
26 MIN
Andrew  Albicy
6 As
2 TO
20 MIN
Nick  Calathes
26 EFF
67% 2P%
67% 3P%
John  Shurna
11 EFF
43% 2P%
33% 3P%