When Spain legend Epi took center stage at the FIBA Intercontinental Cup
SAN CRISTOBAL DE LA LAGUNA (Spain) - The FIBA Intercontinental Cup has had many of the game's greats grace its stage over the years.
Among them was long-time Spain international Juan Antonio San Epifanio Ruiz, who played at the event as a Barcelona player in 1985 and 1987.
Barca was the only club he ever suited up for, from 1977-1995. He captured seven league championships with the Blaugrana, 10 Spanish Cups, a Korac Cup, two Saporta Cups and a FIBA Intercontinental Cup, when it was staged in Barcelona in 1985.
Epi played for Barcelona at the FIBA Intercontinental Cup in 1985 and 1987
Epi led the team to the title, pouring in 39 points in a 93-89 triumph over CA Monte Libano of Brazil in the Final.
Two years later, Barcelona finished runners-up to hosts Tracer Milano in Italy at the PalaTrussardi but Epi couldn't stay out of the limelight. He played so well at the event that he was still named the MVP.
A four-time Olympian, he was the most capped player in Spain history with 239 games by the time he stopped playing.
Epi was utterly devoted to his national team, which competed for from 1979-1995. He once said: "You have to remember that the national team is everything to me."
Epi was a linchpin in Spain's national team for nearly two decades
Epi almost claimed a World Cup medal in 1982 but Yugoslavia edged Spain, 119-117, in the Third-Place Game.
After finishing runners-up the following year at the FIBA EuroBasket in France, Epi had one of his greatest achievements at the Olympics in Los Angeles.
He averaged a team-high 18.6 points per game and led Spain to the silver medal. They fell to a United States that had Michael Jordan, right before his first season in the NBA, in the Final.
Juan Carlos Navarro eventually passed him as Spain's most capped player in 2017 when made his 240th appearance.
A member of the 2016 FIBA Hall of Fame Class, it was fitting the Zaragoza-born small forward was known simply as Epi, the first three letters in the world epic, because that how many would characterize his performances.