Real Madrid is close to signing one of its masterpieces. After a season full of injuries, off-sports problems, unsuccessful signings, coronavirus outbreaks and even the loss in recent weeks of their leader, Pablo Laso, after suffering a myocardial infarction, the Whites are one win away from being proclaimed champions of the ACB. A company that seemed impossible not long ago and that they now brush with their fingers after their exhibition against Barcelona last Friday (81-66), where they managed to place the tie 2-1 in their favor. Today (6:00 p.m., Let's go), they have the first opportunity to close the campaign in style.
The team works, it's different, very passionate and brave on a mental level and far superior physically to the Catalans, who have deflated like a balloon since Madrid eliminated them in the Euroleague semifinals last May in Belgrade. Tavares, Causeur, Yabusele, Hanga, Poirier...
There are many names that have taken a step forward, but it is the Argentine Gabi Deck, 'the turtle', the engine on which the rebirth of the team is explained.
The forward, in just five months since his return from the NBA, has become the core of the team, body and soul. With a technically inferior squad when compared to Barcelona's, the Whites seem to have imbibed his fierce spirit to even the balance in this final. "I try to infect the team when it's a bit off," the South American acknowledged a few months ago in an interview with this newspaper. Deck, known throughout the continent for being an elite defender, has increased his performance in the face of adversity.
As a result of the plague of casualties that the group has suffered in the point guard position (Williams-Goss, Alocén, Heurtel, Llull), the player has had no qualms about taking the reins of the team when necessary. He has even been uncovered facing the basket in the series against Barcelona, the team's top scorer (11.4 points per game) along with Causeur and Hanga and with a series of spectacular shots from the three-point line, scoring half of the launches. In fact, when Deck has been uncorked on offense, his people have always won. In the first duel at the Palau he went up to 14 points and on Friday, up to 18, statistics that put him in the race to be the MVP of the final.
An introverted man, even dull, who transforms when there is a ball involved. Deck found it difficult to adapt to the pace of European competition after his American adventure. Curiously, his return coincided with the worst months for Madrid. The Covid and the injuries made it even more difficult for him and it was even speculated that the Whites' bad streak had to do with the presence of the Argentine in Laso's quintets. In the past, Deck has emerged as the engine of a Madrid that dreams big after a nightmarish season.