All roads lead to Vitoria-Gasteiz after Spanish city named Final Four hosts
Greece’s EuroLeague clubs will be eyeing Vitoria-Gasteiz as a destination for next spring after the Spanish city was awarded hosting rights for the 2019 EuroLeague Final Four.
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After failing to secure a ticket to this season’s Final Four in Belgrade, Olympiacos and Panathinaikos will hope to reach the competition’s showcase in Spain next season -- even if Panathinaikos’ future in the competition remains in question.
This is the first time Vitoria-Gasteiz has been named as the host city for a EuroLeague Final Four, though the city did previously host the 1996 FIBA Saporta Cup and the 2010 EuroCup Finals.
The Fernando Buesa Arena, which is the home venue of EuroLeague side Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz, will host the showcase event next spring -- marking the fifth time the tournament will be hosted in a Spain since the EuroLeague Basketball Company overtook control of the tournament in 2001.
It would appear that the tournament’s showcase heading to Vitoria-Gasteiz is a good omen for Greek clubs after the two previous European Finals hosted in the Basque Country-based city featured a Greek team in the Final.
In 1996, PAOK faced an advantageous Taugres -- Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz’s name under previous sponsorship -- side who edged the Dikefale tou Vorra 88-81 in the Final of the Saporta Cup.
14 years later, Panellinios reached the Final Four of the 2010 EuroCup Basketball season in Vitoria-Gasteiz. The Athenian side’s fairytale run to the Final Four would end devestatingly in the semifinals following a 92-80 loss to eventual champions Valencia Basket, who beat ALBA Berlin in the Final.
Whether the history of Greek clubs in European Finals in Vitoria-Gasteiz is a good omen or not, should a third Greek club book a ticket to the Spanish city next spring then certainly they will hope to provide a better finish than their compatriots from years past.