ANGT L'Hospitalet preview: Barcelona out to defend title

Jan 02, 2018 by David Hein, Print
ANGT L'Hospitalet preview: Barcelona out to defend title

U18 FC Barcelona Lassa will be out to defend its title at Euroleague Basketball ADIDAS NEXT GENERATION TOURNAMENT Ciutat de L’Hospitalet when the 2017-18 ANGT campaign gets underway on January 5-7 in the Barcelona suburb of L’Hospitalet. The 2016 continental champion is one of two former ANGT winners in the field, which also includes a debutant and two teams that did not play last season.

Last winter Barcelona claimed its first ANGT L’Hospitalet crown since 2011 after having reached the qualifying tournament final the previous two campaigns - losing to U18 Real Madrid in both 2015 and 2016. This season, Barcelona headlines Group B, which also includes U18 ASVEL Villeurbanne, U18 Promitheas Patras and U18 Unicaja Malaga. ASVEL is competing in the ANGT for the fourth time, but the first since 2014-15 when it finished 1-3 in L’Hospitalet. The other two appearances by the French club came in 2008-09 and 2009-10. Greek club Promitheas will be making its debut in the competition. Playing in the A1 National division for the second straight year, the club founded the NOUS youth program in 2014. Unicaja returns to L’Hospitalet for the first time since the 2013-14 season, in which it lost to U18 Real Madrid in the final. Last season, Unicaja hosted ANGT Coin and lost in the final to Real Madrid. The previous two seasons, Unicaja played at ANGT Rome, where it finished fifth in 2015-16 after losing the final to U18 StellaAzzurra Rome in 2014-15. Unicaja went to the ANGT Finals in 2014-15.

Group A includes 2013 ANGT champion Divina Seguros Joventut Badalona, U18 Herbalife Gran Canaria, host U18 Torrons Vicens L’Hospitalet and U18 Virtus Bologna. Joventut lost to Barcelona in the ANGT L’Hospitalet Final last season after finishing fifth in 2014-15 and sixth in 2015-16. Gran Canaria returned to the competition last season after not playing since 2011-12. It lost to Joventut in the L’Hospitalet semifinal last season. L’Hospitalet has become a tough team over the past few seasons. In 2015-16, L’Hospitalet picked up two victories and finished fifth and then last season the hosts knocked off U18 Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens and U18 Cedevita Zagreb in group play to reach the semifinals, where they lost to Barcelona. The final team in the group is Virtus, which did not play in the competition last season. The Italian club finished third at ANGT Rome in 2015-16 after losing all four games and finishing in last place in Rome in 2014-15.

The teams will face each of the other three sides in their groups over the first two days of the competition. The final day of action on January 7 will be highlighted by the top team from each of the groups squaring off in the final. The second-placed teams from the groups will play for third place, the third-placed teams for fifth and the fourth-placed sides for seventh place. Unlike past seasons, there will be no semifinals at ANGT L’Hospitalet this season. The ANGT L’Hospitalet schedule also includes a three-point shooting contest between the third-place game and final.