Pallacanestro Cantù

Pallacanestro Cantù

Italian professional basketball team

Pallacanestro Cantù, known for sponsorship reasons as Acqua S.Bernardo Cantù, is an Italian professional basketball club that is based in Cantù, Lombardy. On the European-wide club competition scene, Cantù is second to Real Madrid – against whom they have an 8–2 record – for European trophies won, with twelve titles (two EuroLeague, four FIBA Saporta Cups, four FIBA Korać Cups and also two FIBA Intercontinental Cups.),[1] in addition to three domestic Italian Leagues and two Italian Supercups.

Quick Facts Leagues, Founded ...


1936–1969: Formation and early years

The club was founded as Associazione Pallacanestro Cantù in 1936 with impetus from Mario Broggi and Angiolino Polli. At a time when basketball was an unknown sport in Italy, a group composed of Broggi, Polli, Attilio Molteni, Peppino Borghi, Alberto Broggi, Vittorio Sgariboldi, Nene Marchi and Peppino Colombo started to play in the courtyard of the Sacramentine Sisters Institute. A name change in 1940 saw the club become Opera Nazionale Dopolavoro Cantù, winning their first major trophy in 1942 with the Bruno Mussolini Trophy after a squad coached by Luigi Cicoria won against Pallacanestro Varese and General Cantore Milano. The club re-emerged after World War II as Pallacanestro Cantù, playing in the third division Serie C in 1949. It then reached the second division Serie B in 1953 and the first division Serie A in 1954, though they downgraded after one season. The Broggi brothers retired during this period, replaced on the court by Lino Cappelletti (the first Cantù player to make the Italian national team) Lietti, Ronchetti and Quarta, whilst the squad was sponsored by the Milenka distillery.[2][3]

Returning to the Serie A in 1956, the club was sponsored by Ettore Casella through his Oransoda brand, and two years later he became the club's owner, nominating Aldo Allievi as president.[4] The arrival of Tony Vlastelica allowed Cantù, now playing in a covered Parini arena, to finish fourth in 1957–58 and start challenging Minganti Bologna and Simmenthal Milano. Over the summer, Casella transferred his Oransoda sponsorship to Virtus Bologna whilst using another of his brands, Fonte Levissima, for Cantù,[4] whilst Gianni Corsolini was named coach. After Cappelletti retired, he was replaced in 1962 by a young player from Milano, Carlo Recalcati. Recalcati, along with the "wall of Cantù" – composed of Bob Burgess (arrived from Real Madrid), Alberto De Simone and Alberto Merlati – Antonio Frigerio and Carlos D'Aquila formed the team – coached by Borislav Stanković – that would win the club's first ever Serie A title in 1967–68.[2][3]

1969–1979: The second scudetto

The 1969 off-season saw Erminio Casella (who had replaced his father as owner after his death in 1967) leave the club, with Allievi stepping in to take his place. Arnaldo Taurisano was named coach and Pierluigi Marzorati joined, and stayed fifteen years with the club. Though Ignis and Simmenthal had a hold on the Italian league during that period, a Birra Forst-sponsored squad composed of Marzorati, Recalcati, Antonio Farina, Ciccio Della Fiori and Renzo Tombolato captured three successive FIBA Korać Cups in 1973, 1974 and 1975, beating respectively Maes Pils, Partizan from Belgrade and FC Barcelona. The 1974–75 season ended with the club earning their second scudetto with players such as Marzorati, Della Fiori, Recalcati, Farina, Tombolato, Bob Lienhard, Franco Meneghel and Mario Beretta, who later in that same year would add the FIBA Intercontinental Cup, beating Real Madrid and the final runners-up Amazonas Franca on the way. Harthorne Wingo joined the squad in 1976 and led the club to another European title, the 1977 Cup Winners' Cup claimed against Radnički Belgrade, a title repeated the next year over Sinudyne Bologna, whilst John Neumann helped them achieve the three-peat in 1979 by beating EBBC.[2][3]

1979–1984: The European title

The form from these seasons would continue into the 1980s, thanks to a squad coached by Valerio Bianchini with Americans Tom Boswell and Bruce Flowers, future Serie A all-time top scorer Antonello Riva, Renzo Bariviera, Denis Innocentin, Giorgio Cattini, Fausto Bargna and Marzorati. The latter, along with Riva, were decisive in the Italian's fourth Cup Winners' Cup in 1981 with an 86–81 win over FC Barcelona, also helping them win their third scudetto that same year. They earned a place in the 1981–82 Champions Cup, despite a rocky start as Bianchini did not travel with the squad early in the season, whilst Marzorati and Bariviera were injured. They lost 85–87 away to Maccabi Tel Aviv after a basket by new signing C. J. Kupec was disallowed. They travelled to Belgrade needing to win, or lose by 15 or fewer points against Partizan to reach the final, which they managed as they lost 89–104 after Dražen Dalipagić scored 55 points. Again pitted against Maccabi Tel Aviv in the final, Squibb Cantù brought 1,200 fans to Cologne on 25 May 1982, winning 86–80 thanks to 23 points from Kupec, 21 from Flowers, and 18 apiece for Marzorati and Riva. Though they conceded their league title to Bologna from Sinudyne in the play-off quarterfinals, they defended their European title in the 1982–83 edition as title holders, where they faced a decisive game, overcoming CSKA Moscow 106–73 to reach the final against rivals Billy Milano. The game in Grenoble was close, with Jim Brewer blocking John Gianelli's second-to-last shot to see the team emerge 69–68 winners as fans swamped the court while Marzorati held the cup, the team's other American, Wallace Bryant, had 18 points as did Riva, with Brewer adding 14.

1984–1994: Forty years in the first division

The rest of the 1980s saw the club stay competitive but failing to add any titles despite counting American players like Dan Gay, Richard Anderson, Lorenzo Charles, Jeff Turner and Kent Benson, stalling in the league playoffs and losing the 1989 Korać Cup to Vlade Divac's Partizan.[2][3]

Riva had left for Milano in 1988 but Pace Mannion joined the club and was decisive in the conquest of the 1991 Korać Cup, scoring eight consecutive three-pointers to down Real Madrid, with Marzorati ending his career with another title. At the second season of Fabrizio Frates as head coach of the team, Clear Cantù made another season in the 1991–92 FIBA Korać Cup after having reached the semi-finals of the competition, where they lost to Scavolini Pesaro for one point difference (a 76–74 home win and a 86–89 defeat in Pesaro). The 1992–93 season established the good performances in Europe (1992–93 FIBA Korać Cup). Clear Cantù ended the season in the semi-final losing to another Italian club after being surrounded by "Saša" Đorđević's Philips Milano (who subsequently won the trophy). In Serie A, although the team ranked fifth in the regular season, they ruled the play-off quarterfinals thanks to Stefanel Trieste with 2–0 wins. In the semi-finals the barrier of knorr Bologna proved impossible to overcome. However, the team qualified to compete in the next season's FIBA European League and to return in the top European basketball club's competition after an absence of nine years. The 1993–94 season saw the club playing in FIBA European League against European clubs like Efes Pilsen, Panathinaikos, 7up Joventut, Buckler Beer Bologna, Cibona or Pau-Orthez (ranked 8th and last in the group B with 2–12 record) and changing coaches and foreign players but this could not prevent the team from downgrading to the second division, ending a forty-year tenure in the first division, the Allievi family conceded the ownership to Franco Polti in its wake.

1994–2009: 70th anniversary

The team returned to the first division after two seasons, with coach Dado Lombardi and Thurl Bailey helping Polti Cantù reach the Italian Cup final and an eighth place in the league on its return season. Francesco Corrado bought the club in 1999. During the course of the season, player Enrico Ravaglia died in a car crash, and the team – with a returning Riva – regrouped on the court. The 2000–01 season started badly, which led to the incumbent coach being replaced by long-time youth coach Stefano Sacripanti who guided the club to win. He would do better the next season, leading an American-centric group of Jerry McCullough, Bootsy Thornton, Sam Hines, Shaun Stonerook, Todd Lindeman and Ryan Hoover to a fourth place in the league, enough to qualify for the EuroLeague (though Corrado decided to renounce participating for financial reasons).[2][3]

The 2002–03 season saw the club reach the Italian Cup final, though it would concede the title to Benetton Treviso. They would avenge their loss by beating Treviso in their own arena in the 2003 Italian Supercup. Reaching the league playoffs on a number of occasions, Cantù also returned to Europe, participating in the 2004–05 ULEB Cup and the 2005–06 FIBA EuroCup. The club celebrated its 70th anniversary during the 2006–2007 season; as part of the commemoration, a 54 year old Marzorati played during an October 2006 game, beating records as the oldest ever professional basketball player and the only player to have played for the same club in five different decades.[5] When Corrado left the club to become president of Lega Basket, his son Alessandro became the eighth president in team history, another change saw Sacripanti leave for Scavolini Pesaro and be replaced by Luca Dalmonte. During the summer 2008, Cantù was brought by the NGC group led by Eugenio Cremascoli along with his children Paolo and Anna, though Corrado remained president.

2009–present: Recovery

Dalmonte left in 2009 and was replaced by young coach Andrea Trinchieri, who took the club to the Italian Cup Final Eight and the fourth place in the league, before reaching the playoff semi-finals where they lost to holders Montepaschi Siena, earning a place in the next year's EuroCup.

The next season, Trinchieri led a squad with long-time players such as captain Nicolas Mazzarino, Manuchar Markoishvili, Maarty Leunen and Vladimir Micov to first the Italian Cup final and then the league final, where they would lose to frequent champions Siena. Meanwhile, Anna Cremascoli became the club's president in September 2011, the first woman ever to hold the position at a Serie A club (she would be joined by other part-owners in 2014, including the team's fans with a 10% share, though she remained president and majority owner). Having earned a place in the 2011–12 Euroleague, the Italians reached the Top 16 thanks to a buzzer beater from Gianluca Basile against Gescrap Bizkaia Bilbao. Placed in a tough Group H with Maccabi Tel Aviv and FC Barcelona Regal, they tied Tel Aviv for second but exited on points scored, losing the penultimate game to Barcelona by a single point as Basile could not repeat his earlier exploit.[1] Meanwhile, they played in the Supercup and Italian Cup finals but lost both to Montepaschi Siena, whilst in the league they were defeated in the quarter-finals by Scavolini Pesaro.[3]

Joe Ragland

The 2012 summer saw main sponsor Bennet leave, to be replaced by Mapooro, a brand from the NGC group, whilst the squad saw wholesale changes with Basile leaving and eight new players coming in. Mapooro Cantù beat Siena to win the Supercup, then triumphed in the qualifying rounds (organised at "home" in the PalaDesio) to reach the EuroLeague regular season.[1] Though they beat Real Madrid and Fenerbahçe Ülker they exited at the group stage after losing to the Turks in Istanbul, where Manuchar Markoishvili went mid-season by transferring to Galatasaray. The now Lenovo-sponsored team came back from a shaky start to crack the league playoffs, where – thanks to the arrival of Joe Ragland – they reached the semi-finals, losing the seven-game series against Acea Roma in the last game. Trinchieri left the club over the summer and was replaced by Sacripanti, whilst Daniele Della Fiori replaced Bruno Arrigoni as general manager and Acqua Vitasnella became main sponsor. A solid season saw the side reach the Italian Cup Final 8, the EuroCup Last 32 and the league playoffs, remaining unbeaten at home during all of the latter's regular season, though they lost their quarter-finals series against Roma. Known as FoxTown Cantù in Europe, the team went to the EuroCup Round of 16 before exiting at the hands of UNICS.

Domestically, they reached the playoffs again, with help from NBA All-Star Metta World Peace who joined the club in March, but were undone in the last game of the quarter-final series against Reyer Venezia. In November 2015, the club was bought by Ukrainian-Russian billionaire Dmitry Gerasimenko: in the first weeks of its ownership he announced he planned to build a new arena, brought in coach Sergey Bazarevich and four new players.[3]

In August 2016, the club brought in coach Rimas Kurtinaitis from Khimki.[6]


Cantù started playing in the uncovered courtyard of the Sacramentine Sisters Institute before moving to another outside court on Piazza Parini. A covered arena, the PalaParini, was built in 1956 (when the Italian Basketball Federation disallowed the use of outside courts). They played there until moving to the newly built Palasport Pianella for the 1974–75 season.[3]

When they qualified for the EuroLeague in 2011, they had to move to the PalaDesio for their games, 15 km away from Cantù in Desio, as the Pianella did not meet EuroLeague standards.[1] The PalaDesio itself underwent a €130,000 refurbishment over the summer, with changes to the court, electrical installations and outside area that made it in line with the aforementioned standards.[7] They also played their European games in Desio the next season, in addition to a number of domestic games over the next seasons (one game during 2010–11, four more the next season,[8] then two local derbies against Vanoli Cremona and Milano in 2014–15).[9]

The arena situation has driven a wedge between the club management and the local authorities as a promised new venue to replace the obsolete Pianella (which costs around €400,000 in upkeep, ten times more than most Serie A arenas) has not yet been built, whilst renting the PalaDesio full-time would prove too costly.[10]

On July 6, 2016, there was the official presentation of the project for the new arena in Cucciago, Cantù. The project consists of a renovation and an extension of the Palasport Pianella, with the increase of capacity from 3,910 to 5,634. Inside the building, there will be a new museum dedicated to the club, a cafe/restaurant, a gym, a children fun area, a new team's training court and the offices of the club. It will be the fourth largest basketball arena in Lega Basket Serie A. Construction will last between 11 and 13 months.[11]


Current roster

More information Acqua S.Bernardo Cantù roster, Players ...

Note: Flags indicate national team eligibility at FIBA-sanctioned events. Players may hold other non-FIBA nationality not displayed.

Season by season

More information Season, Tier ...


Total titles: 18

Domestic competitions

Winners (3): 1967–68, 1974–75, 1980–81
Runners-up (2): 1979–80, 2010–11
Runners-up (4): 1996–97, 2002–03, 2010–11, 2011–12
Winners (2): 2003, 2012
Runners-up (1): 2011

European competitions

Winners (2): 1981–82, 1982–83
Semifinalists (1): 1975–76
Winners (4): 1976–77, 1977–78, 1978–79, 1980–81
Runners-up (1): 1979–80
Winners (4): 1973, 1973–74, 1974–75, 1990–91
Runners-up (1): 1988–89
Semifinalists (2): 1991–92, 1992–93

Worldwide competitions

Winners (2): 1975, 1982
Runners-up (1): 1983

Other competitions

  • Trofeo Cinelandia
Winners (1): 2011

Top performances in European and worldwide competitions

More information Season, Achievement ...

Notable players

Note: Flags indicate national team eligibility at FIBA-sanctioned events. Players may hold other non-FIBA nationality not displayed.

More information Criteria ...

Head coaches

Sponsorship names

Throughout the years, due to sponsorship deals, the club has also been known as:

  • Milenka Cantù (1954–55)
  • Oransoda Cantù (1956–58)
  • Fonte Levissima Cantù (1958–65)
  • Oransoda Cantù (1965–69)
  • Pallacanestro Cantù (1969–70)
  • Birra Forst Cantù (1970–77)
  • Gabetti Cantù (1977–80)
  • Squibb Cantù (1980–82)
  • Ford Cantù (1982–83)
  • Jollycolombani Cantù (1983–85)
  • Arexons Cantù (1985–88)
  • Wiwa Vismara Cantù (1988–90)
  • Shampoo Clear Cantù (1990–94)
  • Polti Cantù (1994–99)
  • Canturina Cantù (1999–2000)
  • Poliform Cantù (2000–01)
  • Oregon Scientific Cantù (2001–04)
  • Vertical Vision Cantù (2004–06)
  • Tisettanta Cantù (2006–08)
  • NGC Cantù (2008–09)
  • NGC Medical Cantù (2009–10)
  • Bennet Cantù (2010–12)
  • Chebolletta Cantù [Domestically] (2012)
  • Mapooro Cantù [European competitions] (2012)
  • Lenovo Cantù [Domestically] (2013)
  • Acqua Vitasnella Cantù [Domestically] (2013–2016)
  • Red October Cantù [Domestically] (2016–2019)
  • FoxTown Cantù [European competitions] (2013–2018)
  • Acqua S.Bernardo Cantù (2019)
  • S.Bernardo-Cinelandia Cantù (2019–2022)
  • Acqua S.Bernardo Cantù (2022–present)


  1. Lawlor, Frank (6 December 2012). "'Everyone knows what we are talking about'". Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  2. Gancedo, Javier (12 September 2004). "The Club Scene: Pallacanestro Cantu". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  3. "Storia" [History]. (in Italian). Archived from the original on 1 August 2015. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  4. "Il basket italiano piange la scomparsa di Aldo Allievi, storico presidente di Cantù" [Italian basketball mourns the death of Aldo Allievi, Cantù's historic president]. (in Italian). 23 March 2011. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  5. "Marzorati in campo batte 2 record" [Marzorati beats two records on the court]. TgCom24. (in Italian). 8 October 2006. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  6. "Cantù, Rimas Kurtinaitis è il nuovo allenatore. Gerasimenko: 'Ci aiuterà a tornare in alto'" [Cantù, Rimas Kurtinaitis is the new head coach. Garasimenko: 'He will help us to get back on top']. (in Italian). Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  7. "Benevenuta Eurolega! Bienvenue Nancy! Stasera al PalaDesio la partita di esordio" [Welcome Euroleague! Bienvenue Nancy! Tonight at the PalaDesio the game that starts [the season]]. (in Italian). 19 October 2011. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  8. Piccinelli, Andrea (22 August 2012). "Insieme per Cantù, al via la campagna abbonamenti" [Together for Cantù, the season ticket campaign is launched]. (in Italian). Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  9. "Cantù trasloca: è la febbre-World Peace" [Cantù moves: it's the World Peace-fever]. (in Italian). 7 April 2015. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  10. Landrini, Fabio (10 August 2013). "Cantù, incubo Palababele due L'ultimatum dei Cremascoli: "Senza palazzetto niente squadra"" [Cantù, the nightmarish second Palababele. Cremascoli's ultimatum: "Without an arena no team"]. (in Italian). Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  11. "Cantù, presentato il progetto del nuovo Palasport" [Cantù, the project of the new Palasport has been presented]. (in Italian). 23 July 2016. Retrieved 4 August 2016.

Share this article:

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Pallacanestro_Cantù, and is written by contributors. Text is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 International License; additional terms may apply. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.