Cornered by the covid, Morabanc Andorra, which was one of the first ACB teams to resume activity in May after confinement, was forced to reschedule eight games in the first two months of the course and spent more than three weeks without power compete, between the end of October and the middle of November. After an atypical and disastrous journey due to the pandemic, Ibon Navarro’s team, 13th in the standings, now faces an end to the regular season turned into a gymkhana, with six games in 12 days to recover his three postponed games and trips to Santiago, Malaga and Murcia within that journey. A total of eight duels in 19 days, if we expand an account that begins this Wednesday against Casademont Zaragoza, before the closing scheduled for May 16 that will give way to the qualifying rounds for the title. One game every two days in the middle of the race to reach the playoffs.
“Several days ago we proposed to the ACB a calendar with a little more respite to place those postponed games, but they have shown very little sensitivity with us and with the players,” explains Francesc Solana, MoraBanc Andorra sports director. “It is a calendar with many difficulties due to travel and timetables. It is not normal that after a match in Malaga on Tuesday the 4th at 8.30pm we play another on Thursday 6th at 6.30pm. We will arrive in Andorra on Wednesday, later than our rival (Fuenlabrada). Later, after playing on Sunday 9th at 8:00 pm against Gran Canaria at home, we have a match on Tuesday 11th at 6:30 pm in Murcia, which is very difficult to travel (7h 35m by road) ”, continues Solana in his official protest, with a claustrophobic Excel that was completed against Joventut (May 13) and Gipuzkoa (16). ACB sources clarify that if before that match in Murcia the two opponents lose their options to enter the playoff the duel, no longer qualifying relevance, would move a few days to ease the calendar. But, to this day, both Morabanc and UCAM are fully involved in the fight, counting on their postponed matches. There are days left and there are plenty of games to find respite.
“We have shown throughout the season our willingness to adapt to everything that has happened to us. We even made a trip to Fuenlabrada forced by the ACB and we were locked up there for three days. At the end of the first round we did not finish all the games and everyone accepted it as something normal. Now we could adapt a little more for the end of the League ”, reiterates Solana in his request for flexibility to the ACB. “Playing so many games in a row is not good either because of the risk of injuries that it can cause or due to covid situations, or for the health of the players. There is almost a month to dispute the playoffs and the teams that have to make up postponed are going to play more games than the teams that qualify for the qualifying rounds, ”Solana closes by doing accounts and looking for gaps.
The ACB regular season closes on May 16. From there, the peculiarities of a calendar marked by the difficult cohabitation with the Euroleague begin. If Madrid and Barça qualify for the Final Four the playoffs would begin on the 18th; If there is only one Spanish team classified, they would do so on the 19th; and if there are none, they would start the 20th, with a little more margin. All with the idea of concluding the championship on June 16 as the mandatory deadline for pre-Olympic tournaments.
To try to cover a season of uncertainties, the ACB has prepared 17 alternative calendar models for this course, depending on the space between competitions and the hypothesis of a complete suspension of days; and another 20 more schedules for contingencies such as the recovery of loose matches. A total of 37 alternatives for one year that, added to the FIBA window squeezes and the Olympic dates, became a feat of design and culmination. Now Andorra pays for the imbalances in the sequence of suspensions. But from the League it is pointed out that teams like Valencia and Burgos have already played an identical number of matches between European competition and ACB. And that if Morabanc himself had qualified for the semifinal of his continental competition, he would have played a similar number of matches that he will have to face now. In a course of contrasts, to the test of any physical preparation, the Andorrans will go from three weeks without competing to eight games in 19 days, six in the last 12.