Turkish Airlines Euroleague
June 19, 2013
bwin Euroleague Fantasy Challenge
Tel Aviv 2004
Qualifying Rounds 2012
NIKE International Junior Tournament
2012-13 Club Profile: Caja Laboral Vitoria
Fernando San Emeterio
SAN EMETERIO, FERNANDO
Caja Laboral Vitoria is one of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague’s true powerhouses, an ambitious club with a winning history that enters every new season with lofty goals. It will also be more motivated than ever after a subpar 2011-12 Euroleague season in which the team missed the Top 16 for the first time ever. Laboral did, however, reach the Spanish League semifinals for the 10th consecutive season and made it to its 11th straight Spanish King's Cup semifinal. Overall, Laboral has been rock-solid over the last decade and always challenged for titles in all competitions. Its true competitiveness and winning mentality is well-known in Vitoria as “Baskonia character.” Saski Baskonia was founded in 1959 and started playing in Spain's first division in the 1970s. The club's first trophy did not come until 1995, when Velimir Perasovic led the team to the Spanish King's Cup. Baskonia reached the Saporta Cup final in 1994 and 1995 and finally lifted that trophy in 1996 by downing PAOK Thessaloniki 88-81 behind 31 points from Ramon Rivas. The club, then called Tau Ceramica, reached its first Spanish League finals in 1998 and added a second Spanish King's Cup title in 1999. The turn of the century led to instant success in the newborn Euroleague. Elmer Bennett and Victor Alexander led Tau to the 2000-01 Euroleague playoff finals before losing to Kinder Bologna in do-or-die Game 5. In 2002 with Dejan Tomasevic as its new superstar, Tau won the Spanish King's Cup and its first Spanish League title. Luis Scola led Tau to two more King's Cups in 2004 and 2006 and the team did very well in the Euroleague too. Tau reached the Final Four for four consecutive seasons, from 2005 to 2008. In 2005, Tau upset favored host CSKA Moscow in the semifinals, but couldn't overcome defending champ Maccabi in the title game. It was its last Euroleague final, as Maccabi, Panathinaikos and CSKA stopped Tau in the semifinals from 2006 to 2008. The club bounced back to win its second Spanish League title in 2008 by downing Barcelona in the finals behind an outstanding Pete Mickeal. Tau added another King's Cup title in 2009 before changing its name to Caja Laboral. In 2009-10, Laboral conquered a third Spanish League title by sweeping Regal FC Barcelona on a memorable series-winning three-point play by Fernando San Emeterio. No more titles came in the last two seasons, but the fact that Fernando Buesa Arena was expanded to 15,504 fans this season proves that Laboral is working in the right direction. An outstanding fan base that follows the team everywhere, its trademark character and a great organization able to combine basketball and business like few others at any level are the secrets to Baskonia's success. Now the team will look to redefine success with a run at the Turkish Airlines Euroleague crown.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
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