Tenerife Rural basketball side’s impressive December and January run in the LEB division almost secured them a berth in the league’s Cup competition.
- Five wins on the trot had lifted the side into the top places and set up a thrilling fixture against Breogán, managed by former Tenerife boss Paco García, to decide which of the two would occupy fourth spot and earn the right to play in the four-team competition.
Tenerife had to win by 12 points to make it through but eventually won by just one, after a ding-dong tussle which saw Breogán lead for much of the game only to buckle under the home side’s pressure in the dying minutes.
Kentucky-born Antwain Barbour scored 41 points to add to the 37 netted the previous week against La Palma and moved to the top of the scorers’ table in the league. Coach Sanz said afterwards the Cup “would have been a bonus” but he was more than delighted with the win, which was all the more rewarding since it was earned without injured playmaker Pedro Llompart.
Meanwhile, neighbours Socas Canarias lost for the third week in a row and coach Alejandro Martínez’s forecast that January would be a real test of the LEB newcomers’ staying power was proven 100 per cent correct.
The La Laguna side, the surprise package of the season so far, remain in sight of a play-off place but morale has been dented by the defeats against Cantabria, Alicante and fellow-debutants Rosalía.