On Friday, April 24, 2015 BC Khimki within the bounds of Eurocup finals (game 1st) on the road will face Spanish side Herbalife Gran Canaria. The beginning of the meeting is at 21.45 msk. Watch live at NTV-PLUS Basketball, Eurosport 2 and HD Sport.
HERBALIFE GRAN CANARIA (CANARY ISLANDS, SPAIN)
yellow and blue
Spanish League semifinalist (2013), Spanish Cup semifinalist (2013), Spanish Supercup semifinalist (2009), Eurocup finalist (2015)
Gran Canaria Arena (capacity – 11500)
Aito Garcia Reneses
Joaquín Costa Prat
Official website: cbgrancanaria.net
Gran Canaria was founded in 1963 inside Claret School and for many years played under that denomination. Following a successful period in school competitions, a senior team was created and integrated on the Spanish Second Division. The team played in that division until 1984, when it adopted the decision of having a statute of its own, therefore becoming an independent institution. The new statute was approved on May 22, 1985 and the team became Claret Club de Baloncesto. The following years, the team moved many times between ACB League and First Division B. On the 1987/1988 season the club changed its name to CB Gran Canaria, paying homage to the place where its social mass came from. On 30 June 1992 the team became a sports public limited company (Sociedad Anónima Deportiva, SAD in Spanish) in order to fulfil with the requirements of the then-new Spanish sports legislation. After three seasons in the Spanish silver division, the team won the first Liga EBA in the 1994/1995 season and it was promoted to ACB League. From that season on, CB Gran Canaria has stayed in the top level of the Spanish basketball.
The club played its first Spanish League playoffs game in 2000 and played in the Korac Cup in 2001. Gran Canaria made its ULEB Cup debut in 2003/2004 and went through to the eighthfinals before losing to Real Madrid. The club did not return to the ULEB Cup elimination series until 2007, when it lost in the eighthfinals against FMP. Gran Canaria had a great 2009/2010 Eurocup season, but a home loss against Panellinios in a do-or-die game prevented the team from reaching the Finals. BC Khimki forward James Augustine played for the Spanish side from 2008 to 2010. In the next two years, Gran Canaria could not reach the elimination series despite a combined 11-7 record. Great results arrived in the 2012/2013 season, as Gran Canaria reached the Spanish Copa del Rey and the Spanish League semifinals for the first time in club history. Another step forwards took place in the 2013/2014 season, as the club moved to the magnificent, 11,500-seat Gran Canaria Arena. With a new home, a new coach and the same ambition as ever, Gran Canaria can reach high in the 2014/2015 Eurocup.
After 29 week in the ACB League Gran Canaria ranks 8th with 15 wins and 14 losses. On the eve of the game vs. BC Khimki Gran Canaria suffered a home defeat from UCAM Murcia (80-92) with 17 pts by ex-Khimkians Thomas Kelati and 12 pts by Carlos Cabezas. Gran Canaria’s European campaign has been very successful so far. The team lost only one game during the entire tournament (in Last 32, to Banvit Bandirma, 70-80) and now has an incredible 21-1 record throughout all the Eurocup. In the Eurocup eightfinals Gran Canaria outlasted Cedevita Zagreb, in the quarterfinals it destroyed Turkish side Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir and defeated UNICS Kazan in the semifinal series. Canaria’s phenomenon is obliged to great experience of head coach Reneses.
Rimas Kurtinaitis, BC Khimki head coach:
"We know our opponent well, especially their coach in Aito Garcia Reneses. He is an honored specialist who was named 2014-15 Eurocup best coach. During the season Herbalife Gran Canaria lost only one game and that is a great result. They play really well as all Spanish teams do. If we take the ACB League, they are at a good level as they are clinching the playoffs zone and it’s a very good result. We have seen their Eurocup games as they play with high energy. They have good players especially 220-centimetres giant Tavares who is a very talented and perspective guy. He was a crucial player for Gran Canaria in the first semifinal game against Unics Kazan. So I can say we know our opponent well, as it’s a fast and running team like Valencia Basket that was defeated by BC Khimki earlier in the season. We have prepared for this matchup and I hope we have good chances. The main point is to use them in a right way".
Paul Davis, BC Khimki center:
"It’s one of those games where there is not a lot of tactics. Everybody is ready and knows how each other plays. It’s gonna be a hard two-game series. We are preparing more mentally than physically because it has been a long season and now we are here, in the finals. Gran Canaria is doing well but they have two different experiences as they play really well in the Eurocup but in the Spanish league they are just outside the playoffs. They will put all the effort like we do in the next two games. We hope to have best result despite the long trip and we really want to enjoy the experience of the possibility to win at home. The first game is obviously the most important. The opponent plays well as the team as they don’t have a super star. Everyone knows its role and plays it perfectly. So the first half will be the key for us. We have a lot of guys who have been played in many big games that helps us a lot".
James Augustine, BC Khimki forward:
"We had a long trip yesterday but we are focused and learned some other plays. But like I say all year, we need to be focused on ourselves and make sure what we can do. Gran Canaria was the first team I played for when I came here over to Europe. It’s a good club and I have a lot of memories from there. I spent two years there and it was a good experience for me. I liked the life and especially the weather and beaches in Las Palmas. But that’s in the past now. It’s Eurocup finals and we have to be focused and ready to play. Gran Canaria has been playing good in the Eurocup so far. They are fifty-fifty in the Spanish League but in the Eurocup they lost only one game that is very difficult, as they had to make so many trips. We have to go there and play the best game we can. We have to focus on our energy and defense so we can have a good game. They have good players like Tomas Bellas who was there when I played for Gran Canaria. He is a great leader on the court and controls the game. Kendall can move around and he is very athletic. Tavares is really tall and can do a lot of things in the middle and switch the game defensively but as I’ve said we have to think about ourselves and do our best. Gran Canaria has a new gym now where I’ve never played before. They have good fans and I hope the atmosphere will be great".