If it was already difficult to think that CB Tarragona could be among the top three in group 1 of Conference C of the EBA League, imagining that this group designed two or three years from now accesses promotion to LEB Plata is almost an Utopia. And more taking into account the rival in front of them. CB L’Hospitalet has only lost two games in the entire regular league, exhibiting an overwhelming superiority in its group thanks to a squad more typical of LEB Plata than of EBA. It will also have the support of a stand that, although small, is expected to be full to overflowing. Everything seems to be against it, but if CBT itself has taught us anything, it is to destroy the limits and to believe that the impossible is only a little more difficult.
Berni Álvarez, a blue coach, is the first to understand the enormous difficulty of beating L’Hospitalet on his court, but the enthusiasm and competitiveness of his boys has already surprised him in the regular league and why not, he can do it again in the phase of ascent. “We are looking forward to it. Excited because for many of the players it is the first match of this type that they play in their careers. They are physically and mentally prepared for a complicated match on a difficult court”, says the coach from Tarragona.
These two weeks of preparation have been special. Because it is a toss-up match. One ending. And that shows in the faces of the players. The veterans try to hide their nerves and transfer their temperance to the youngsters when it comes to facing a duel of such caliber. Berni Álvarez has played many of these and knows that they are “the games that make you mature as a player, gain experience and in which you learn the most”.
The victory options pass, according to Berni Álvarez, by “lowering his scoring level.” The Barcelona team have an average score on their court above 80 points. “With those numbers it is very difficult for us to win,” says the coach, so in order to have room to surprise “we have to go to a more defensive game.” One of the main problems that the Tarragona team may have in L’Hospitalet is the outside game. “They have players in that area like Epi or Real who generate many situations and also scorers like Latham, who is a top-level shooter,” says Álvarez. If they manage to take the game to the defense, the next step will be to control the rebound. An aspect in which the people of Barcelona have Placide. The Chad player, who dominated Albacete’s paint in LEB Plata last season, has averaged 7.3 rebounds per game in the regular season.
Having reduced the local virtues, it is time to bring out all the details that have made this young group one of the most solvent in the C-1 group. “Putting the ball inside will always help us generate things and above all, punish any mistake they may make.”
On paper, Hospitalet is a favorite and plays at home, but that profile can also play tricks on them. “They have pressure to take the initiative, especially at the beginning of the duel,” says Berni Álvarez, who admits “we would have liked to have had the court factor.” He has not had it because of the basket average, since he finished the regular league with the same defeats as Castelldefels and CB Salou. Some numbers and a season that the coach describes as “remarkable”. “I was very worried at the beginning of the season about the results. The team configuration gave you peace of mind because you could work with a number of young players, but it is a project to go up in two or three years. But we have been very competitive, winning difficult matches. What happens from now on will be to put the note of excellent ». The CBT faces this step without fear of anything or anyone. And if it happens, it will no longer be a surprise.