Caja Laboral 2009-10, team profile

Jun 29, 2009 by Print
Tiago Splitter - Tau Ceramica
2008-09 RESULTS
Regular Season
Top 16
Spanish League
Regular Season
Caja LaboralA trademark Euroleague team, Tau Ceramica, announced in the middle of the summer a sponsor change after 23 years, becoming Caja Laboral. However, the tradition in Vitoria goes on, albeit under a different name. Despite another strong season, Caja Laboral’s bid for a fifth consecutive Euroleague Final Four berth came up short last year by one game. However the Spanish King’s Cup and a spot in the Spanish League finals showed that Caja’s place among the elite clubs of European basketball remained intact. Although Saski Baskonia was founded in 1959 and started playing in Spain's first division in the 1970s, the club's first trophy of any kind came in 1995, the Spanish King's Cup, when Pablo Laso and Velimir Perasovic led the team to a historic win. The club was already making noise internationally, too, reaching the Saporta Cup final in both 1994 and 1995. When it hosted the same title game in 1996, Baskonia pleased its many fans by downing PAOK Thessaloniki behind 31 points from Ramon Rivas. Tau made its first Spanish League playoff final in 1998 and added a second Spanish King's Cup title in 1999, then found quick success in the newborn Euroleague, too. With a deep roster featuring Elmer Bennett, Saulius Stombergas, Victor Alexander, Fabricio Oberto and a young Luis Scola, Tau reached the 2000-01 Euroleague playoff final series before losing to Kinder Bologna in the fifth and final game on the road. With winning momentum and the additions of Dejan Tomasevic and Andres Nocioni, Tau celebrated the next season with another King's Cup trophy and its first Spanish League title ever. Trophy lifting soon became a habit. Tau snatched two more King's Cups, in 2004 and 2006, as Scola and Pablo Prigioni played decisive roles, and success followed the team in the Euroleague. Tau's arrival to its first Final Four in 2005 couldn't have been louder, as the team upset favored host CSKA Moscow in the semifinals, but couldn't overcome defending champ Maccabi in the title game. Back home, Tau again reached the Spanish League finals, only to lose in dramatic fashion. Tau returned to the Final Four in 2006 but once again Maccabi stood in its way, this time in the semifinal. Tau also made it to the Spanish League finals, but was swept there. In 2007, Tau stormed to the Final Four a third time, but eventual champion Panathinaikos downed Tau in their semifinal and, once home again in Spain, Tau lost in the playoff semifinals. Tau regrouped in 2008 and reached the Final Four for an amazing fourth time in a row, but lost in the semis again to eventual champion CSKA. However the club rebounded to win its second Spanish League title downing Barcelona in the finals behind an outstanding Pete Mickeal. Last season Tau added another King’s Cup, but FC Barcelona stood in its way to more glory. Barca ousted Tau in Game 5 of the Euroleague quarterfinals and later in the Spanish finals. What would have been a tremendous season for others was a bit disappointing for Tau fans, who will be back to cheer their squad on as it seeks more titles and a spot back in the Euroleague Final Four this season.