07 - 09
February 2020
FIBA Intercontinental Cup 2020 - Team in Focus: Iberostar Tenerife
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Team in Focus: Iberostar Tenerife

SAN CRISTOBAL DE LA LAGUNA (Spain) - In the buildup to the FIBA Intercontinental Cup taking place in Tenerife, Spain,  from February 7-9, we take a look at each of the four participating teams. Here, we profile Iberostar Tenerife, who reached the Basketball Champions League Final in 2019 and are hosting this event.

Tenerife have in recent years been among the most successful clubs in Spanish basketball, challenging for a spot in the top eight of the domestic league that guarantees a place in the play-offs and also excelling in Europe. In the inaugural 2016-17 Basketball Champions League campaign, Iberostar Tenerife staged the Final Four and  won it.

The Canary Islanders then staged the FIBA Intercontinental Cup and beat Venezuelans Guaros de Lara. In years two and three of the BCL, Tenerife were among the best teams. They reached last year's Final in Antwerp before falling to Virtus Bologna. In year number four, coach Txus Vidoretta steered his team to post-season qualification with Regular Season games still to play. On the domestic front, Iberostar Tenerife are fourth in Spain's Liga Endesa. 

Players to Watch

Marcelo Huertas

Huertas has been indispensable for Iberostar Tenerife

The long-time Brazil international playmaker has competed at Olympic Games, FIBA Basketball World Cups and FIBA AmeriCups. He has also been among the most recognizable faces in Spanish basketball since 2004, when he joined Joventut Badalona, a team he won the FIBA EuroCup with in 2006 alongside greats like Rudy Fernandez and Alex Mumbru. Huertas was a linchpin in a Baskonia side, with compatriot Tiago Splitter, that captured the Liga Endesa crown in the 2009-10 campaign, while with Barcelona he celebrated league titles in 2012 and 2014, and a Copa del Rey in 2013. Huertas' excellence took him to the NBA, where he played for the Los Angeles Lakers from 2015-2017, before he returned to Baskonia for two seasons. Now in his first year with Iberostar Tenerife, Huertas has been an excellent floor general and currently shares the BCL's all-time assists record of 17 in a single game, which he accomplished in a victory at Gaziantep on January 22.

Giorgi Shermadini

Shermadini is a tower of power in the Basketball Champions League

The Georgia international center has been a part of his history-making national team for more than a decade. He's played in all four of his country's FIBA EuroBasket campaigns, starting with their first appearance in 2011. Shermadini moves well for a 2.13m pivot. His performances in the Regular Season of the Basketball Champions League have been just what the team expected. He set the tone for the club having a good season in the BCL with 24 points and nine rebounds in a home triumph over Nizhny Novgorod and has been solid ever since. Through the team's first 12 games, Shermadini shot 58.5 percent from the floor and averaged 15.5 points per game.

Sasu Salin

Salin likes to have the ball in his hands when the game is on the line

One can't think of Finnish basketball without conjuring up the image of Salin, the excellent three-point shooter who has led his national team on numerous occasions. After spending several seasons with famous Slovenian club Union Olimpija, the 1.91m shooting guard moved to Gran Canaria in 2015 before switching to Unicaja Malaga and competing there for a couple of campaigns. After signing for Iberostar Tenerife before this season, Salin led his new side to an 88-80 victory at Malaga, drilling five three-pointers en route to a game-high 24 points. Salin has a penchant for hitting the big shot. Trailing Gaziantep, 67-66, on November 13, he drilled a game-winning three-pointer in the waning seconds for a 69-67 triumph. He had his BCL-best night of hitting the three on January 22 when drilling five three-pointers and scoring 17 points in an 88-65 triumph at Gaziantep.

Team's All-Time Greats

Javier Beiran

Beiran thrived in his several years with Iberostar Tenerife

Another linchpin in the Iberostar Tenerife team from 2014-19, 2.00m forward Beiran could post up but was also dangerous from the perimeter. His play captured the eye of Spain coach Sergio Scariolo, who took Beiran to the FIBA Basketball World Cup in China, where the veteran helped the national side reach the top of the podium.

Rodrigo San Miguel

San Miguel added an undeniable grit to the club in his five years with Tenerife

A feisty point guard, San Miguel's  toughness made him vital to Tenerife. From the time he joined the Canary Islands team in 2014 through the 2018-19 season, San Miguel had a reputation for harassing defense and he was never shy about stepping in front of an opponent to draw a charge.


Iberostar Tenerife reached new heights in 2017 as winners of the Basketball Champions League

CB Canarias' humble beginnings date back to its foundation in 1939. Put together by basketball enthusiasts like Juan Rios Tejera and Juan Miranda, CB Canarias played in anonymous, non-national leagues for almost 36 years. In the 1970s, club president Pepe Cabrera took the team into the national leagues. It's been on quite a journey ever since.

It climbed into the second division of the national leagues in the mid-seventies. In the eighties, when Santiago Martin was president of the club, it featured in the top flight, the Copa ACB, for six seasons and also qualified for a Korac Cup in Europe, with Eddie Phillips, Carmelo Cabrera, German Garcia and Mike Harper the outfit's star players.

Hard times hit the club in the nineties and it fell into the lower divisions but following a reorganization, good times returned.

In 1994, CB Canarias joined forces with other teams on the island to create the new Tenerife Canarias, which played two seasons in Liga EBA, the second tier in Spanish basketball at the time.

The club went on to play in the LEB II and Adecco ORO and finally, in 2011, it rose into the elite league, the ACB (now known as the Liga Endesa) and has been there ever since. Since 2013, the club has been known as Iberostar Tenerife.

When it comes to the greatest moments of this club, one need only look at recent times. It not only won the inaugural Basketball Champions League but also several months later beat Guaros in the FIBA Intercontinental Cup, which the club also hosted.

Iberostar Tenerife can lay claim to being the most successful club in Basketball Champions League history.