Club profile: Laboral Kutxa Vitoria

Jul 01, 2014 by Print
Laboral Kutxa celebrates - EB13
Laboral Kutxa VitoriaLaboral Kutxa Vitoria enters the 2014-15 Turkish Airlines Euroleague eager to fight for big goals – as its trademark motto "Baskonia Character" suggests. Vitoria comes off an up-and-down 2013-14 Euroleague season in which it registered prestigious road wins against Panathinaikos Athens, FC Barcelona and eventual champion Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv, but a seven-game losing streak early in the Top 16 prevented it from making it to the playoffs. Vitoria reached the Spanish League playoffs and the Copa del Rey tournament, but walked away without any titles for the fourth consecutive season. As such, Vitoria will be as hungry and ambitious as ever this season to improve on its latest results and add to its rich history. 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 Copa del Rey. Vitoria also reached the Saporta Cup finals 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 Copa del Rey 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 a do-or-die Game 5. In 2002, with Dejan Tomasevic as its new superstar, Tau won the Copa del Rey and its first Spanish League title. Luis Scola led Tau to two more Copa del Rey titles in 2004 and 2006 and the team did very well in the Euroleague too. Tau reached the Final Four during four consecutive seasons, from 2005 through 2008. In 2005, Tau upset favored host CSKA Moscow in the semifinals, but couldn't overcome defending champ Maccabi in the championship game. It proved to be the team’s 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 Copa del Rey in 2009 before changing its name to Caja Laboral – which became Laboral Kutxa late in the 2012-13 season. In 2010, Laboral conquered a third Spanish League title by sweeping Regal FC Barcelona on a memorable series-winning three-point play by Fernando San Emeterio. There have not been any more titles since that, but the fact that Fernando Buesa Arena was expanded to 15,504 seats and the many initiatives the club continues to put into practice show that Vitoria is moving in the right direction. Euroleague playoffs appearances in 2011 and 2013 – losing against Maccabi and CSKA Moscow, respectively – prove that Vitoria is still a top, competitive club in the competition. All the expectations are for the team to be fully reloaded and ready to fight in the 2014-15 season, backed by thousands of faithful, committed fans.
Turkish Airlines Euroleague: Top 16
Spanish League: Quarterfinals
Spanish Cup: Quarterfinals