Málaga, SPAIN, Oct. 9 -- The atmosphere in Malaga’s Palacio de Deportes was of complete basketball craze until the very last second of the game, which concluded with Unicaja’s win over the Memphis Grizzlies by 102-99.

The home team made history as they became the third European team to defeat an NBA squad (Barcelona and Macabbi de Telaviv already achieved this feat in previous years). "Evidently, to have contributed in putting Unicaja in the elite group of European teams that have faced and defeated an NBA team, is a proud achievement. It is a historic date for our team," said Unicaja’s Italian coach Sergio Scariolo.

Juan Carlos Navarro also made history by playing his first match with the Grizzlies and scoring 21 points for his new team. "At the beginning I was very nervous as I could not find my teammates nor had space to shoot," said Navarro. "By the second half, I found my rhythm and managed to make good shots. I am happy with my overall personal efforts, but with this loss that does not mean anything."

For now, Navarro complied with the expectations and responded well to the pressure of playing in his own country. Has it been the best game for a Spaniard rookie on his first NBA game."With 21 points, 5 out of 8 being three-pointers, Juan played a great game and tried his best to help us win. I believe that he will play an important role in our team during the season," concluded coach Iavaroni.

The Grizzlies should improve, but the sensation of a special new ingredient remained as expectation builds on the Spaniard’s following performances in the season. "I am especially happy that Juan was one of the Memphis’ stars in his first game," said Scariolo.

Fiesta at the Palacio
Nobody wanted to miss this. The Palacio de Deportes lived one of its most special nights. Fans from all over Andalusia filled the arena with a single objective… to enjoy firsthand all the entertainment and excitement of the NBA basketball. Fans could not wait, so the crowd started to arrive two hours before game time to take photos of the event’s promotional bus outside of the arena.

A warm welcome
Berni Rodriguez and Navarro welcomed the fans at the Palacio de Deportes before game time. Berni welcomed the American team, but made sure that they knew he intended to win: "We want to win," said Unicaja’s captain. Navarro, who was one of the most applauded players, also addressed the fans, "Thanks for all the affection that you have showed us in Malaga. I hope you continue to cheer me on even though this time I am before you with Memphis and not Barcelona."

Unicaja’s international power
Marcus Haislip, an American player, was the star player for Unicaja today and is one of the most beloved players by Malaga‘s fans. Haislip finished the game leading his team with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Daniel Santiago from Puerto Rico and Bonifance N' Dong of Senegal, two seven-feet players, also made great performances controlling the boards and the paint.