Credit: BAXI Manresa via Twitter
Credit BAXI Manresa via Twitter

The long-tenured basketball career of Rafa Martinez came to an end yesterday. BAXI Manresa lost to Real Madrid and were eliminated from Liga Endesa Playoffs, marking the final game in the player's career.

Player of the Game
Walter  Tavares
EFF
16
Walter Tavares
Points 6
Accuracy 2-2
Rebounds 5
Assists 1

"When I was a kid I never dreamed of being a basketball player," Martinez wrote in his emotional farewell letter. "I never dreamed it. But it has been a true DREAM."

Although the veteran guard only played 10 minutes and scored 5 points in the match, it was a special night for the Spaniard. The entire Pavello Nou Congost bid farewell to the player with a standing ovation, with Real Madrid's head coach Pablo Laso also acknowledging Martinez. Everyone in the building applauded the player, and even the match's referees joined in.

It was a fitting end to a long career. It all started in Manresa in 1998, and it all ended in Manresa, this time in 2022.

"I haven't had the luck to play with him or train him," Pablo Laso said after the match. "Everyone who has been with him has spoken wonders to me."

"Spanish basketball owes a lot to players like Rafa Martínez for his presence, his competitive ability. He knows that I appreciate him very much," Laso continued. "I am glad that he was able to say goodbye at home, paying tribute to him as he deserves. I have the thorn of not having been able to share a locker room."

Pedro Martinez, the head coach of BAXI Manresa, shared similar thoughts after the match.

"You can only speak well of Rafa. He is an endearing player. His mentality was the same when he was a player in full physical form, in Valencia for example when he was our starting shooting guard, as yesterday, in the last training session we did," the coach explained.

"Great professional," Martinez continued. "Incredible shooter. He has helped me a lot. Unfortunately, everything ends. We will miss him."

"It was a dream and today I wake up. 22 years of professional career later. I wake up proud of everything I've experienced in this crazy world of basketball. Everything, absolutely everything, even the apparently least good, has been worth it. I wake up proud and full of energy for the new challenges that are sure to come. Thank you, BASKETBALL, for giving me this precious and unique dream," Rafa Martinez finished his farewell letter.

Rafa spent his best years in Valencia, winning the ACB League once in 2017 and the EuroCup three times in 2010, 2014, and 2019.

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BAXI Manresa
Real Madrid
41%
26/63
Field goals
43%
29/68
38
Rebounds
39
14
Assists
13
3
Steals
6
54%
19/35
2-pointers
50%
18/36
9
Turnovers
7

Best players

Ismael  Bako
16 PTS
6/9 FG
4/4 FT
Guerschon  Yabusele
16 PTS
6/13 FG
2/2 FT
Ismael  Bako
11 REB
7 DREB
4 OREB
Real Madrid
Few players
7 REB
Sylvain  Francisco
5 As
1 TO
24 MIN
Sergio  Llull
4 As
2 TO
21 MIN
Ismael  Bako
22 EFF
67% 2P%
- 3P%
Walter  Tavares
16 EFF
100% 2P%
- 3P%