23 years ago todayOn June 4, 1998, TDK Manresa was proclaimed champion of the ACB League in a feat that is still remembered today as one of the great historical moments of professional basketball in Spain.
In one of those stories that sport offers us from time to time, David defeated Goliath in a tight 77-75 finish against the powerful Tau de Vitoria, a match resolved after a betting error from the visiting team’s personnel line.
The Nou Congost, immediately afterwards, collapsed overwhelmed by the emotion of the title, and that is how the ACB organization wanted to remember the feat:
When Manresa was proclaimed champion, the ACB league had only been beaten by the big clubs of the competition: Madrid, Barça and Joventut. Then came other feats, but that of Manresa set a precedent.
At 41, Joan ‘Chichi’ Creus was the top scorer of that match with 17 points, but that squad will always be remembered among the Bages fans. Herb Jones, Pere Capdevilla, Bryan Sallier and Derrick Alston, Paco Vázquez, Chus Lázaro, Lisard González and Jordi Singla were the protagonists of that feat, all of them led by a Luis Casimiro still very loved in the Catalan city.
Manresa had already achieved a great first win two years earlier, in 1996, with the achievement of its first and only Copa del Rey. The Catalan team reached the league playoff in sixth place, but managed to overcome the field disadvantage in the qualifying rounds and base their victory on the Nou Congost fort, where they won five of their six games in that final phase.
On the road to glory, Manresa threw Estudiantes, Madrid and, finally, Tau out of the way.