9 Marcelinho Huertas (TENRF)
Jeff Taylor's Eurovision
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A FIBA Intercontinental Cup that Tenerife must win

VALENCIA (Jeff Taylor's Eurovision) - When it comes to success, you're not going to find a better story in the seven years of the Basketball Champions League than two-time winners Lenovo Tenerife.

With the foundations of this proud club laid back in 1939, hence the official name  CB 1939 Canarias SAD, the last six years have easily been the best in terms of trophies, players and coaches.

Txus Vidoretta has been at the helm for all the big wins but one, the 2017 FIBA Intercontinental Cup when Nenad Markovic was coaching the team. Vidoretta is in his second stint in charge. He has the most victories of any coach in the Basketball Champions League, which was launched in the 2016-17 season.

Txus Vidoretta has coached Tenerife to two BCL crowns and two FIBA Intercontinental Cups

The team has four of the most emblematic players in the history of the BCL: assists wizard Marcelinho Huertas of Brazil, sharpshooting extraordinaire Sasu Salin of Finland, two-time BCL champion and king of scrappiness Aaron Doornekamp of Canada and Georgia's tower of power Giorgi Shermadini.

The fact that veterans Marcelinho, Salin and Shermadini are now in their fourth consecutive season at Tenerife is not the norm in Europe.

Players arrive, and they don't want to leave.

Doornekamp, 37, is in his second stint at the club. Doornekamp re-signed for the team in the summer of 2020 and ended up being able to play a couple of BCL games at the conclusion of the 2019-20 season, which had been stopped during the pandemic but re-started in September, 2020. So technically, he's in his fourth straight BCL season, too. 

Doornekamp had opted out of his contract before the 2017-18 season to follow Vidoretta to Valencia Basket, where the coach stayed for a season before returning to the Canary Islands. Doornekamp returned, too. It just took a little longer.

Tenerife has beautiful beaches, Teide (a volcano which has the summit of 3,715m - the highest point in Spain) National Park and beautiful small towns like Candelaria, Garachico and Icod de Los Vinos.

It also has the delectable papas arrugadas, an excellent accompaniment with meat or fish, or even to have simply on its own.

What is also impressive on Tenerife is the trophy list, which is getting longer. The outfit hosted the inaugural Basketball Champions League Final Four in 2017 and beat Umana Reyer Venezia and then Banvit to lift the title.

All-league selection Doornekamp celebrated the 2017 BCL title win that put Tenerife on the map

Several months later, Tenerife defeated Guaros de Lara of Venezuela to prevail in the FIBA Intercontinental Cup.

In 2020, nine months after falling to Virtus Bologna in the Basketball Champions League Final in Antwerp, Tenerife hosted the FIBA Intercontinental Cup and won it for the second time. This edition was much harder because instead of just two teams, there were four.

After knocking off Rio Grande Valley Vipers 110-89 in the their first game, a Semi-Final, Tenerife held on to beat Virtus, 80-72, to win the Cup. Marcelinho was the MVP.

Marcelinho, one of the most beloved players in the Brazil national team, is 39 yet still plays like he's 29. He was also the Final Four MVP in Bilbao last year when Tenerife overcame Hapoel Holon, 78-71, and then in an all-Spanish title game, spoiled the biggest day in Manresa history by winning, 98-87.

Shermadini helped dunk Tenerife to the club's second BCL title at last year in Bilbao

Tenerife, who have their chances in the BCL again this season,  will first take aim at a third FIBA Intercontinental Cup triumph. As hosts, and with a lot of experience, Tenerife will be favorites.

Their Semi-Final opponents U.S. Monastir will be an unknown entity to many, yet their conquest of last year's BAL trophy shows this is a team that can win big games. It's the first Tunisian club to compete in the FIBA Intercontinental Cup, and only the second outfit from Africa to do so after Egypt's Zamalek.

The other Semi-Final pits last year's BCL Americas winners Sao Paulo of Brazil against the team that won the NBA G League, Rio Grand Valley Vipers.

If being a part of the tournament is a tremendous honor, Tenerife should be looking at this as a must-win opportunity.

Titles and trophies stand the test of time. Those teams that win them will be immortalized, at least in the eyes of the fans.

Claiming the trophy would create another unforgettable memory for Tenerife and stand out in FIBA Intercontinental Cup history.

Real Madrid (1976, '77, '78, '81 and 2015) have five Intercontinental Cup wins while Ignis Varese ('66, '70 and '73') and Akron Goodyear Wingfoots ('67, '68 and '69) have each won the competition three times.

Victory would also provide more evidence, especially to sponsors, that Tenerife is one of the best clubs in Spain, in Europe and one that remains on an upward trajectory. 

Jeff Taylor

FIBA's columnists write on a wide range of topics relating to basketball that are of interest to them. The opinions they express are their own and in no way reflect those of FIBA.

FIBA takes no responsibility and gives no guarantees, warranties or representations, implied or otherwise, for the content or accuracy of the content and opinion expressed in the above article.

Jeff Taylor

Jeff Taylor

Jeff Taylor, a North Carolina native and UNC Chapel Hill graduate, has been a journalist since 1990. He started covering international basketball after moving to Europe in 1996. Jeff provides insight and opinion every week about players and teams on the old continent that are causing a buzz.