Wednesday, February 28

Indomitable towards the ascent | Today

The Sacred Heart, after one of his last victories. / @SACREDHEARTNCC

The modest Sagrado Corazón from Cáceres, after its magnificent season, receives the Unicaja subsidiary with the aim of getting into the final towards LEB Plata

They do not have the umbrella of a great shadow club, as is the case with their rival this Friday, nor do they have wealthy public or private aid to support the ambition of a group of basketball lovers. Neither is a large social mass that protects them and shares risks or vicissitudes. Not even history is a fellow traveler, since he is practically a ‘rookie’ in the category. A ‘sophomore’ actually, as he is in his second year at EBA. A season to frame in which the indomitable Sacred Heart Lithium Iberia has been placed at the gates of the grand final for promotion to LEB Plata, little joke for a humble club created in the school that bears his name.

Big goals come with big stumbling blocks and to make that leap, the people from Cáceres will first have to eliminate Cantera Unicaja, a subsidiary of the powerful Malaga club, who won the first leg in Malaga by six points (75-69). So it’s time to go back to tonight’s event (8:00 p.m.) where the Cáceres team will be able to count on the warmth of the Multipurpose stands. To this end, there will be a day of coexistence with the quarry during the afternoon that will culminate, after various contests and activities, witness the decisive meeting.

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A married couple

Directed by a married couple in the offices and on the track, made up of its president Pilar García and her coach Juan Pablo Márquez, the Sagrado Corazón has managed to overcome the hopeful debut of last year, when the campaign finished third and one game behind the leaders Huelva finishing this year champion of the DB group of EBA. Despite his erroneous start, with two defeats, he chained 19 victories and a single lost game, a trajectory with which he got rid of rivals until he rose to the leadership. As Juan Pablo Márquez analyzes, the arrival of foreigners –quite exotic given the problem of signing quality Spaniards who want to come to Extremadura– increased their performance, especially in the paint, where the team has its strong point. In addition, the eight homegrown players who already belonged to the squad have raised the level. “In general, the season has left us with a very good taste, but we cannot appeal to that as if it were a patch before this game. I don’t want excuses or think that we already have something done. You have to go to win », adds Márquez, who became involved in the school’s basketball school as his children were old enough to play.

A rebounding power that kept him alive in Malaga, with 51 captures from Extremadura and only 31 from the Andalusians. The Greek Andrea Tsoumanis stood out in this plot, who took 10 and it is striking that he is the team’s top assistant as well as the highest rebounder. The Ivorian Aziz Karuka went to 12 and the national Linde contributed another 8.

For the Multipurpose clash, the coach hopes that this interior potential will be consolidated by a greater success in the long shot, the scourge with a 5 of 29 in triples in the Los Guindos Pavilion. “They have many players who are an outside threat and that sometimes causes you to overdefend the outside and eat some very ugly or comfortable basket near the rim. That has to be improved. Also his high pace and his physical and contact game », weighs the Sevillian coach on the eve.

The Unicaja puppies have an advantage that is on the border between the crush and the opportunity to attack it. «Six points is a dangerous income if we do not reach the end with land in between. There we stayed halfway. You have to persevere because in our sport you live a lot with mistakes or with decisions that you don’t like and you have to avoid that mistake or decision being the start of a chain.

From humility, the Sacred Heart throbs the illusion of those who face a dream that is within their reach, although the final would still be left for promotion. «We are a very small thing, we compete against clubs with a lot of names in basketball and their subsidiaries, but we try to claim our space and do well. The people of the club, academy, board, etc., have created a very good atmosphere, it’s like a small family. We are a handful of friends and we will jump into the pool if everything goes well, ”replies Márquez regarding a possible project at LEB Plata.

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