Basketball and ‘solidarity’ continue to advance a winning combination. The 2018 instalment of the Old Star Game has been hugely successful with over 3,000 spectators on the PalaDesio stands for the return of the Lombardy Basketball Legends in an unprecedented triad that brought the great names of Varese, Cantù and Milan together for an evening on court. There was much merriment and entertainment for the 40 former athletes and a whole host of ‘guest stars’ in polo shirts and trousers, who turned out in support of Santo Versace’s Operation Smile foundation. An American-style presentation, led by Dan Peterson and Belen Rodriguez, called the teams onto court one by one for the mandatory tribute – and a tear or two in some cases – in recognition of the contribution made by its leading lights.

Varese and Cantù kicked off to break the ice of a thrilling event. The game began immediately with an amarcord of the promotional season in Serie A – Lauwers for Galanda hooked in the first two. The first half, prerogative of Varese Basketball, turned the tables to lead 20-11 with Bulleri and Fajardo making an impact. The second half at 8’ also saw Varese being urged on by the long baskets of its stars for the final 44-31 that sent the Red & Whites to catch their breath on the benches, while Cantù immediately encountered and beat Milan (40-38 final score).

The final challenge between Varese and Milan saw exhaustion in both teams with Varese ahead almost as in football with a score of 5-4 after more than half of the first quarter with Bulleri at the helm. It was the ’99 Galanda-Zanus Fortes axes that would put on both points and a show for Varese – at the interval the board read 12-12. It was Fajardo in the role of MVP that dragged Varese along with points, rebounds and fouls committed against them – the public chanted for him to be MVP and Varese Basketball beat the Little Red Shoes 31-21 to win the Old Star Game in Desio.