19 players and one coach are competing for the Liga Endesa Championship
Leer en Español: La Liga Endesa: Territorio fértil para latinoamericanos
The Association of Basketball Clubs (ACB in Spanish), that manages the Liga Endesa, has twenty players from Latin America, adding both players and coaches. This is the balance: 19 people who jump into the court every match day, while there’s only one who defends his colors from the bench.
Pablo Progioni, who won the Federacion Internacional de Baloncesto Americas (FIBA Americas) in 2011, started the season coaching Saski Baskonia, but due to his poor results at the beginning, he decided to quit a few weeks ago.
Even though Progioni’s absence, he helped to Saskoni’s Baskonia latinization, when he took the point guard Jayson Granger, from Uruguay, to the team. Granger averages 5.92 assists per game this season. In the same branch, and from the same team, a former NBA player can be mentioned: Marcelinho Huertas, who registers 4.58 dishes per game. Finally, this trio is completed with Carlos Delfino, who comes from Santa Fe, in Argentina. Delfino’s been having more discreet games.
The other coach is Nestor Rafael Garcia, also from Argentina. Garcia coaches the Montakit Fuenlabrada, team that marches in the second place, just behind Real Madrid Basketball. Fuenlabrada has won ten matches this season, and has only lost three. Garcia was the one in charge to classify Venezuelan National Team to Rio 2016 Olympic Games, when the team won FIBA Americas Championship in Mexico City, in 2015. This championship is the highest title a team can win –talking about national teams– in the Americas. When Garcia signed his contract with Montakit Fuenlabrada, he had to quit his job as Venezuela’s National team coach, due to ACB’s regulations, which don’t allow combining both positions. In Fuenlabrada, Garcia coaches well-known point guard Gregory Vargas, who was in the team that won the FIBA Americas in 2015. Vargas averages 4.7 points in 23 minutes this season.
Another team that maintains a Latin American basis is UCAM Murcia, which is in eleventh place, it has won 6 games and lost 7. Universidad Catolica’s Team has another trio of players born in Latin America, starting with Vitor Benite, who comes from Sao Paolo, Brasil. The second one is Dominican-American Sadiel Rojas; the trio is completed with another Argentinian player Marcos Delia.
Benite’s averaging almost forty percent behind the three-point line, while averages up to 95% from the free-throw line. Rojas is one of the personal faults leaders, making 3.46 per game. Delia has received eight blocks in thirteen matches this season.
It’s important to remember the Classic ABC trio, knocked into shape with Latin American players: Mexican center Gustavo Ayon, playing for Real Madrid, team that leads the Liga Endesa. Eulis Báez is the second one. The Dominican shooting-guard plays for Club Baloncesto Gran Canaria; finally, Nicolas Ricotti, from Argentina, belongs to Iberostar Tenerife.
Ayon is playing his fourth season, he has been on the spot several times due to his good playing; he also played in the NBA for a few months. Baez is playing his sixth season with Gran Canaria and has been played for Dominican national team several times. Richotti has played with Iberostar for nine years and also has been defended Argentinian colors in many chances.
LatinAmerican Post | Jesus Koyoc
Copy edited by Marcela Peñaloza