Australian Boomers team mates Nathan Jawai and Joe Ingles have helped Barcelona Regal take one step closer in the quest to win the teams third Euroleague championship. Barcelona Regal defeated Panathinaikos Athens 64-53 on Thursday at Palau Blaugrana to win their best-of-five playoffs series 3-2 and advance to next month’s Final Four in London.
Barcelona had plenty to be concerned about prior to the game as Panathinaikos had delivered two last eight knockouts in the past three years, Barcelona however rose to the occasion on defense and dominated on the boards. The teams 46-32 rebounding edge was huge in determining the games outcome, 28% of which were hauled in by the Aussie Boomers Duo.
Nathan Jawai started the game despite playing with a back problem and provided 9 points on perfect shooting in a mere 18 minutes. Joe Ingles experience and leadership was depended on throughout the entire game with the swingman being on the court for 31 of the games 40 minutes. Ingles finished the game with 8 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists and was huge on defending Panathinaikos long range shooters. Panathinaikos, the Top 16 leader in three-pointers made with 129, shot just one of 16 from the distance against Barcelona in Game 5.
We are happy, but this is not the end. Panathinaikos took us to five games. They played well, but we found a way to beat them. We fought hard during the season for home-court advantage and we won at home” said Jawai who also delivered 6 rebounds and 3 blocks and a game-high performance index rating of 21.
Barcelona never trailed and was ahead by as much as 19 in the second quarter. Panathinaikos rallied in the fourth quarter to get within 6 points but behind some long range three’s from Euroleague’s all-time leading scorer Juan Carlos Navarro and Brazilian Marcelinho Huertas, Barcelona’s hold on the game was never really in doubt.
Barcelona will now face CSKA Moscow and Real Madrid, which includes former Sydney Kings import Dontaye Draper, who qualified for London earlier in the week.
Melbourne Tigers Chris Anstey, who played in the Euroleague for Ural Great Perm in 2003, took to twitter to say “Congrats to @Joeingles7 and @Natejawai on huge win today. Still not sure many people here realise how big an effort making the Final 4 is!”