ANGT L'Hospitalet MVP gets brotherly revenge with win over Joventut

Jan 09, 2017 by David Hein, Print
ANGT L'Hospitalet MVP gets brotherly revenge with win over Joventut

Sergi Martinez remembers the title game of the 2013 Euroleague Basketball ADIDAS NEXT GENERATION TOURNAMENT Finals. And by helping U18 FC Barcelona Lassa beat U18 Divina Seguros Joventut Badalona in the 2016-17 ANGT Torneig de Bàsquet Junior Ciutat de L'Hospitalet final, Martinez has provided a bit of family revenge.

Martinez's older brother, David Martinez, was on the Barcelona team that faced Joventut in the 2013 ANGT finale in London and lost 82-59 in its second title bout after 2008's loss against U18 FMP.

David Martinez, who is three years older than Sergi, picked up 5 points, 1 rebounds and 2 assists, but it was not enough. And the younger brother felt just as bad.

"I remember exactly that game. I was with my mother and I said that if I play against Joventut that I would beat them. I will do it for my brother. And that is exactly what happened," Sergi Martinez said.

Martinez collected 4 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals in the ANGT L'Hospitalet final and ended up claiming MVP of the tournament for averaging 12.4 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.2 steals over the five-game weekend.

"It's really special for me to be MVP of this tournament," said Martinez, who had already left his mark with Barcelona last season. "It's a really good competition against really good players. This feeling is so good."

Despite playing a year younger, Martinez was one of the club's leaders at the ANGT Finals in Berlin last spring and picked up 17 points and 7 rebounds as Barcelona knocked off U18 Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade 90-82 in the title game to finally give the two-time Euroleague champion its first ANGT crown.

And that title actually came after a getting a wild card because Barcelona had lost to then-reigning continental champion Real Madrid in the ANGT L'Hospitalet final for the second straight season.

"I feel so good because last year I had a bad memory about the final we lost against Madrid. This year we played like a team, shared the ball, did everything we were supposed to and that helped us win," Martinez said. "But playing bad in the final helped us to be more motivated in Berlin and win the title."

Martinez piggy-backed the ANGT championship by playing extremely well at the FIBA U17 World Championship 2016 in the summer in Zaragoza, Spain, earning a spot on the All-Star Five as he collected 19.9 points and 12.9 rebounds.

But there was a bit of heartache for Martinez as Spain lost to Turkey in overtime in the semifinals and then also was defeated by Lithuania in the showdown for the third spot on the podium, leaving Martinez and Spain empty-handed in fourth place.

"That helped me improve my game and showed I need to train harder every day and be more intelligent and do what coach says. That made me better."

Barcelona head coach Alfred Julbe said it's a dream coaching Martinez.

"It's so easy to coach him. You don't have to say much. You say some things he needs to do and he does it," said Julbe, who coached Martinez in his first season with the Barcelona junior team in 2015-16 after making the jump from the club's cadets.

One of the predominant traits of Martinez's game is his versatility to play inside or outside and help out in a number of positions.

That came from Martinez playing football as a youngster until he was 9 years old.

"Football helped me with my sense of movement and footwork," said Martinez.

And actually Barcelona and its basketball fans have the older Martinez brother to thank that Sergi is racing up and down the hardwood scoring baskets and not on the football pitch hitting in goals.

"When my brother went to Barca, I went to watch the games and I liked it," said Sergi Martinez, who had played football for six years. When asked what David Martinez, who is currently playing with Spanish EBA side Barbera, told him before Sunday's L'Hospitalet final, Sergi said:

"He told me to be the best player you can be and play like you know, play with patience and play hard."

Sergi Martinez did just that while also getting a bit of family revenge on his way back to the ANGT Finals.