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Easy CL opener for Portland San Antonio against Steaua (38-30).

Convincing Portland

The Spanish Portland did not give any chance for Romanian Steaua Bucharest. San Antonio won by 38-30 without major difficulties and they began the 2008/09 CL season properly.

Coach Villaldea tried to avoid any embarrassment, but Portland could not count on Malmagro, Dominikovic and Juancho Perez with different physical problems. However, the UPNA Pavilion of Pamplona is a stronghold where it is very complicated to win. Only great teams were able to get away with point or points from Portland in the past.

Svensson had a great day againSteaua had a difficult task this time, but the Romanians stepped on court without fear and with great concentration. Sania and Nadoveza were effective from the back line and kept their team close to Portland.

The 17th minute was decisive in the game. Steaua were two men down when Portland could take a first bigger lead. With a 6-1 series, the hosts made it 12-7.

Kjelling came back from an injury and he was one of the most dangerous San Antonio player. Danjel Saric helped him from the goal with good saves that kept the difference until halftime.

Tomas Svensson had a brilliant second half. The performance of the veteran Swedish goalkeeper was already perfect in the beginning of the second half and his saves meant easy goals for the Spanish wingers.

Steaua did not have a chance in this period. They could only come closer again when San Antonio took a few minutes of rest. However, in this period Carlos Ruesga made his mark and once again emphasised the difference between the teams. The last four goals of San Antonio were scored by him and the fans rewarded him for this achievement with applause.

Chechu Villaldea made his CL debut with Portland with a victory. He could even send some of the younger ones on court. Niko Mindegia and Victor Alonso also made their debut and showed a couple of nice solutions.

Mindegia helped Jakobsen and Ruesga in the backcourt, while Victor Alonso is a very fast winger signed last summer. Both players are members of the Spanish younger age category national teams and they did well to replace Dominikovic, Juancho and Malmagro.

The only bad news for Portalnd: Jorgensen picked up a minor injury during the game.

TEXT: Fernando Urra Goni