Canarias Basketball Academy are travelling to Belgrade this Wednesday where they will be competing in the most prestigious U18 Tournament in Europe, the Next Generation, organized by the Euroleague from the 27th of February to the 1st of March. The winner qualifies for the Final 4 that it is going to be held in Madrid at the same time as the senior Euroleague F4 from the 14th to the 17th of May.
In this competition there will be 8 teams divided in two groups. CBA has been inserted in group B along with Partizan, Umana Reyer Venice and Zemun. Group A, for its part, will be competed by Red Star, Alba Berlin, Mega Leks and Vaerlose. After the first round of three games, the first two teams of each group will advance to the semifinals on the 28th of February and the winner (with a ticket to Madrid included) is going to be decided on the 1st of March.
CBA expedition is headed by President, Rob Orellana; three coaches (Sergio Salesa, Carlos Velasco and Chris Mayes) and twelve players: Jon Peña, Luka Bulashvili, Jordan Blount, Álvaro Reyes, Joshua Tomaic, Alejandro González, Souleymane Diakite, Yixiong Wang, Juan Alberto Estévez-Gª, Dimitrije Nikolic, Menno Dijkstra and Daniel Vázquez.
“We hope to grow in sport terms above all”, Salesa affirms and adds: “We have to try to go game by game; I think that winning the first one would be essential to get far in the tournament. Furthermore, Partizan is initially the most difficult rival of the group but I believe we have options and are going to fight for it. Anyway we know that both if we win or lose there will be nothing decided yet, but winning would be a big step forward”.
Regarding the teams in Group B, CBA junior coach says that “Partizan is very big and strong, rebounds really well, plays well in the paint, plays at home and that is why we think it is the strongest opponent. About the other teams, the Italian Umana Reyer Venice and the Serbian Zemun, we have less information but they are always unconfortable and may work on zone defenses; in addition, they are very lathin and never give up and we must pay attention all the time”.
Finally, Sergio Salesa stresses the importance of repeating in an event like this: “It is huge to be able to take part into this tournament because there are too many historical ACB teams like Estudiantes that have never played in it. It is not easy to be invited and CBA has taken part in three occasions, therefore we are deeply honoured and it is a responsability for the players”.