ASPE reports today that Abel Barriola has ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and will likely be out of action for five to six months. The injury occurred during a doubles match on Sunday when he twisted his knee running back to retrieve a long ball. It was hoped that he had suffered no more than a sprain but an MRI scan performed at the Clinica San Miguel in Pamplona today revealed the full extent of the damage. He will undergo surgery in the coming days.
Sunday 5th April
PASCUAL beat ZUBIETA 22-18
Inigo Pascual was forced to come from behind last night in his defeat of Aitor Zubieta. This was expected to be a close run thing and in the end, the score tends to suggest that this was the truth. However, that would be a drastic over simplification of a strange match which Zubieta lost as much as Pascual won.
The early signs were that Zubieta would find himself home and dry at a canter. The 25 year old from Etxarri Aranatz stormed to a 12-2 lead and in the process showed what an exciting and skillful pelotari he can be. He dominated with both hands and was especially impressive when volleying. His defence was every bit as good as his attack. Pascual seemed a broken man. However, having seen the good side of Zubieta, we were now to see the bad. Possession of all the shots in the pelota armoury is half the battle but this is nothing without consistency. Zubieta appeared to flick a switch and change in the blink of an eye. 12-2 became 12-9 as Pascual made the most of his opponent’s new found waywardness. In the next point, Zubieta, with the entire frontis at his mercy, somehow contrived to hit too high; he seemed incapable of hitting the green part of the wall at all. Pascual passed his rival with ease, and although he handed the lead back momentarily at 14-15, Zubieta could not capitalise. 22-18 was the final score but numbers alone cannot tell the story of such a capitulation.
Zubieta will leave the competition and rue an opportunity missed. Pascual on the other hand will prepare for his next contest, against Xala on Friday.
Abel Barriola is in danger of missing the Manomanista Championship after twisting his knee in a doubles match in Eibar, which had to be abandoned after seven points. The 2002 Manomanista champion and last year’s runner up was playing with Aritz Lasa against Martinez de Irujo and Galarza VI when the incident occurred. In chasing a long ball from Irujo, he turned sharply and noticed a crack in his right knee, and had to be helped from the fronton. ASPE’s medical staff suspected a sprain with some damage to the meniscus. Technical Director Jokin Etxainz stated that although the joint is not swollen, Barriola feels pain in the rear of his knee when he stretches his leg. He will undergo a scan in Pamplona to ascertain the full extent of the injury.
Barriola is due to enter the Manomanista Championship on 10th May the quarter final stage, where his opponent, save a major upset, is likely to be Aimar Olaizola. The man from Leitza has a month to recover but his participation is now surely under some threat.
Abel Barriola: injured
Sources: Diario Vasco, ASPE