Team In Focus: Hereda San Pablo Burgos
BUENOS AIRES (Argentina) - In the buildup to the FIBA Intercontinental Cup taking place in Buenos Aires, Argentina, we take a look at each of the two teams. Here, we profile Hereda San Pablo Burgos, who claimed a spot by winning the 2019-20 Basketball Champions League.
Burgos have been making big waves in Spanish basketball since winning promotion from the LEB Gold to the Liga Endesa and competing in the elite division for the first time in the 2017–18 campaign.
By virtue of their 2-0 sweep of Dinamo Sassari in the Basketball Champions League Round of 16, Burgos earned a spot in the Final Eight.
Played in a bubble format in Athens, which was adopted as a practical and safer way to finish the season because of the pandemic, Burgos, coached by Joan Penarroya, travelled to Greece in late September and first defeated Hapoel Yahav Bank Jerusalem in the Quarter-Finals and then JDA Dijon in the Semi-Finals. Against the title favorites and hosts, AEK, in the championship game, Burgos prevailed.
Burgos fell behind by 10 points at the end of the first quarter to an AEK team that had won convincingly over Nymburk and Zaragoza, yet rebounded spectacularly in the second frame to take a commanding 49-36 lead to half-time.
Omar Cook hit four three-pointers early in the second quarter to fuel the comeback and Final Eight MVP Thad McFadden poured in 18 points as Burgos claimed an 85-74 victory.
Players to Watch
McFadden leads Burgos in scoring in both the Basketball Champions League and the Liga Endesa this season
The point guard, already with the distinction as the 2019-20 Basketball Champions League Final Eight MVP, has led Burgos in scoring at 13.6 points per game in their title defense. The native of Flint, Michigan, is also the club's top scorer in the Liga Endesa at 12.7 points per game. A three-time champion in Cyprus with AEK Larnaca from 2014 to 2016, McFadden, who often thrives when games become chaotic, has proved to be an asset at the elite level of the game on the old continent in Spain. McFadden has also played for Georgia's national team, helping it go unbeaten in the FIBA EuroBasket 2022 Qualifiers.
Benite is always a threat to have a huge performance in the big games
Benite, the Burgos captain, is a steady hand in the backcourt and always a threat to have a scoring explosion, especially in the big games. In one of Burgos' Regular Season clashes with Jerusalem last season, he made 6 of 9 shots from behind the arc and had 26 points, while in a Round of 16 game against Dinamo Sassari, he drilled seven of 10 from deep and had 30 points.
Benite, a Brazil international who shone at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and also featured at the FIBA Basketball World Cup in China 2019, connected on 5-of-7 shots from long range and poured in 27 points in the BCL Semi-Final triumph over Dijon.
Kravic has been a tower of power for Burgos
A late bloomer, it could be said, the 30-year-old center is a symbol of success in the Basketball Champions League, having won the competition with both Virtus Bologna in the third edition and Burgos in the fourth. An athletic, long 2.13m (7ft 0in) center, Kravic contributes energy, points and blocks. His 17.0 efficiency in BCL games this season ranks number one on the team.
If fans in the city of Burgos, which is located in the autonomous community of Castile and Leon and distinguished by its medieval architecture, yearned for big things for their basketball club, dreams turned into reality when the club won promotion to the Spanish Liga Endesa for the 2017–18 season and achieved a credible 14th-place finish.
As fans turned out in a big numbers on a weekly basis, the loud support helped propel Burgos even higher the following year, to 11th place. In 2019-20, Burgos underlined their status as a force to be reckoned with by first qualifying for and then winning the fourth Basketball Champions League crown.
The team first defeated Ukrainians BC Kyiv in a Qualifying Round tie to reach the BCL Regular Season.
Burgos excelled, reaching the Play-Offs before the coronavirus pandemic forced a stop in the action in the middle of March. The club was also 10th in the Spanish Liga Endesa as play was halted.
Organizers of both the Spanish competition, and the BCL, announced that their respective tournaments would be finished and in late June, Burgos travelled to Valencia and took part in a 12-team competition to mark the end of the Liga Endesa. They upset defending champions Real Madrid before finishing fourth in the league.
Burgos then took it to a different level after arriving in Athens for the BCL Final Eight by brushing aside Hapoel Jerusalem, Dijon and AEK to claim the finest moment in club history.
Burgos celebrated after winning the Final Eight in Athens, Greece
The result earned the club a FIBA Intercontinental Cup showdown with Argentinian club Quimsa, winners of the inaugural Basketball Champions League Americas tournament.
Burgos have kept the momentum going in the 2020-21 season.
They have qualified once again for the BCL Play-Offs and also clinched a place in the Spanish Copa del Rey to be staged in Madrid from February 11 to February 14.