Past champs headline first ANGT in Valencia

Dec 24, 2018 by Print
Past champs headline first ANGT in Valencia

The 17th edition of the Euroleague Basketball Adidas Next Generation Tournament tips off between on the last weekend of the year with two past champions headlining the competition's first stop ever in Valencia, Spain. The club that has championed the sport in that region over decades, Valencia Basket, is hosting the event from Friday to Sunday, December 28 to 30. U18 Divina Seguros Joventut Badalona, the 2013 continental winner, and FC Barcelona, the 2016 champions, will start the quest for a second title in Valencia, with the winner of the tournament qualifying for one of the eight spots in the ANGT Finals at the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain next May.

The eight teams in Valencia will be broken into two groups, playing a round-robin format in each. The group games will be played at the L'Alqueria Del Basket, Valencia's state-of-the-art facility that is Europe's largest practice center, with nine indoor and four outdoor courts across 15,000 square meters. The placement games will be played at Pabellon Fuente de San Luis, the home of Valencia Basket's team in the 7DAYS EuroCup.

The two group winners will face off in the ANGT Valencia championship game, with the victor then qualifying for the ANGT Finals next spring. The second-placed teams from each group will face off for third place, the third-placed teams from each group will play for fifth place, and the fourth-placed teams from each group will battle for eighth place.

Group A includes Barcelona, host U18 Valencia Basket, U18 Porsche Ludwigsburg and U18 USK Future Stars Prague. The Group B quartet is Joventut, U18 Movistar Estudiantes Madrid, U18 Virtus Bologna and U18 LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne.

Barcelona enters ANGT Valencia with the goal of getting back to the ANGT Finals after missing out last season following two previous trips, including winning the continental crown in 2016. Barcelona and Joventut met in the final of the last two ANGT L'Hospitalet qualifying tournaments, with Barcelona winning in 2017 and losing in 2018. That will be one of the big questions of this new ANGT Valencia qualifying event: Will Barcelona and Joventut face off again?

Ludwigsburg is back in the competition after missing last season and the German club would love to keep Barcelona from the final. Ludwigsburg hopes to build on its best-ever finish in four participations to date, third place at the 2017 ANGT Belgrade. Prague is also back in the ANGT after not participating last season, which snapped a streak of eight seasons dating back to 2010 for the team from the Czech Republic. The 2010 campaign was also the last time that host Valencia played, when it went winless at ANGT L'Hospitalet as Power Electronics. The club also played in 2008 as Pamesa Valencia.

In Group B, Joventut will be fighting to raise the first ANGT Valencia trophy, having won the ANGT L'Hospitalet crown last season. Joventut may not have as much crowd support as it had in L'Hospitalet, a Barcelona suburb like Badalona. ASVEL is back in the competition for the second straight season after it finished third in L'Hospitalet last season. The French club also competed in 2009, 2010 and 2015. Estudiantes did not play in the event last season after finishing in third place at ANGT Coin in 2017. The club also played in 2008 and 2010. The other team in Group B is Virtus, which finished sixth at ANGT L'Hospitalet last season. This will be the Italian club's sixth appearance in the competition.