Two teams with very different goals in Group C battle each other in Vitoria, Spain, where Caja Laboral hosts Maroussi BC on Wednesday. Caja Laboral has already qualified for the Top 16 and is tied for first place in Group C with its destiny and ability to finish atop the group in its hands. Meanwhile, Maroussi is tied for fourth place in the group. It can advance to the Top 16 this week with a win against Laboral and a Lottomatica road loss at Maccabi Electra. There is good news for Laboral, as Marcelo Huertas and Walter Herrmann are back in the team and ready to face Laboral. Huertas arrives to offer quickness and determination at point guard, sharing the playmaking duties with Sean Singletary and Pau Ribas. Singletary will have a tough test against Billy Keys in one of the most important matchups in the game. Huertas will try to use his experience and speed against Igor Milosevic. Michalis Pelekanos and Jamon Lucas are expected to see most of the minutes at the wings for the guests. Pelekanos, a great defensive player, must do his best to stop Carl English, who has been in great shape recently. Kostas Kaimakoglou is ready for a big battle against Herrmann. Marios Batis will come off the Maroussi bench to offer defense and shooting range, while Lucas will test his scoring skills against do-it-all swingman Fernando San Emeterio. Maroussi must stop Laboral’s franchise center, Tiago Splitter, a dominant big man with great speed and footwork. Splitter leads a very versatile frontcourt that also features three-point bomber Mirza Teletovic, mobile big man Lior Eliyahu and center Stanko Barac, who is having a career-best season this far. Splitter will test his strength against blue-collar center Jared Homan. Teletovic pits his shooting skills against Stevan Nadjfeji, who has downed 8 of 13 from downtown so far this Euroleague season. Meanwhile, Eliyahu must make the most of his quickness against Pat Calathes. Dimitrios Mavroeidis may be the X-factor for Maroussi to his determination, good hands and know-how down low. Maroussi must stop Tau's transition game and control the pace to increase its chances to win the game. Laboral has to get Splitter and Teletovic involved and dominate the defensive boards. Either way this game has the signs of being a 40-minute thriller that will keep fans on the edges of their seats.
REFEREES: Volodymyr Drabikovskyi, Roman Kolar, Radomir Vojinovic
Walter Herrmann has returned from injury and is set to play in his first Euroleague game in over three-and-a-half years. He last played in the Euroleague for Unicaja in March 2006.
Mirza Teletovic has made multiple three-pointers in each of his last five games. He is shooting 51.3% from downtown over that stretch after shooting 23.5% in the first three games of the season.
Fernando San Emeterio scored a season-high 16 points in a Week 4 win at Maroussi.
San Emeterio has made at least 1 three-pointer in six consecutive Euroleague appearances.
Tiago Splitter leads all Euroleague centers in assists this season with 2.2 per game.
Kostas Kaimakoglou scored a season-high 23 points in a Week 4 loss against Caja Laboral.
Stevan Nadjfeji scored a Euroleague career-high 22 points in his team’s last game before the winter break.
Marios Batis has recorded a steal in seven consecutive Euroleague appearances. Michalis Pelekanos leads all Euroleague guards in blocks per game this season with 4 in six games (0.7 bpg.). Maroussi enters Week 9 with five different players averaging double figures in points: Kostas Kaimakoglou (11 ppg.), Stevan Nadjfeji (11 ppg.), Dimitrios Mavroeidis (10.8 ppg.), Jared Homan (10.6 ppg.) and Jamon Lucas (10.6 ppg.), while a sixth player, point guard Billy Keys (9.5 ppg.) is not far behind.