Monday, February 26, 2024

Effort and intensity are non-negotiable in my game

Against Breogán, on Saturday, his contribution was important for the victory of Casademont Zaragoza (63-61). So far it was my best performance in the Endesa League, and I felt comfortable from start to finish. I’m starting to feel really good, with a lot of energy, and that gives me confidence. Overall we suffered, and it was a tight game in the last minutes because of our turnovers. Everything was decided in the last ball and, fortunately, we got the victory with a shot by Santi (Yusta). So, thanks for the win, it was a perfect night.

You show the most compromised moments of the crash. He still represents a threat from the perimeter, scoring three three-pointers. I left the court with a lot of confidence in myself. When I shot the first triple and it went in, everything changed: I had more confidence and it motivated me to keep trying. Then I managed to take two more shots, completely alone, and the ball went in as well. The important thing, in any case, is to achieve victory.

He had 14 points and 5 rebounds in 22 minutes of play. But more than statistics, you are known for your high intensity. Energy, effort and strength are non-negotiable in my game. It’s always been like this. Since I left Cuba to go to Argentina, I have always tried to make sure that no one surpasses me in desire, in strength, in work. Anyone has a bad game, but energy and desire are non-negotiable for me, so I always go out to give my best in every game.

Due to your non-EU status, you were hired at the first idea of ​​a loan at another club. However, his strong and combative play immediately convinced the coach, Porfirio Fisac, and he remained in the squad.
The idea is to take a loan, yes. When they asked me about it, we all agreed to it, because my intention was to have minutes, learn and improve, and I knew it was an option that would be useful. Then the opportunity arose to stay in the team, and later Mark Smith’s injury happened, so I had a better chance to get more minutes.

With Mark Smith’s return, you may find your role on the court diminished. In addition, the club continues to engage with another power forward.
Right now I’m not thinking about that, but I’m enjoying the present moment as much as I can. Later we will see how things go, but now it’s time to enjoy what happened to me, enjoy the fact that I will play in the ACB League, which is the dream of many, and also enjoy the fact that I got it my best. match with Casademont Zaragoza.

He averaged 17 minutes in the Endesa League, and 19 in the FIBA ​​​​​​Europe Cup. The truth is that I didn’t expect to play so much. This is my first experience in European basketball and, therefore, I still have a lot to learn. Fortunately, the entire coaching staff and all my teammates welcomed me very well, so they made this whole adaptation process easy for me.

What are the main differences in Argentine basketball? I had to adapt quickly, because the change was huge in every sense. For example, the players inside are taller, faster and better shooters here in Spain, and I have to get used to the rhythms and the levels of play. I know very well that I still have a lot to learn, that I have to work hard every day to keep improving.

What are your origins? When I was young, in Cuba, my first sport was baseball. When I was little, my parents didn’t want me to spend much time in the neighborhood, in Sancti Spíritus, which at the time was controversial, and they forced me to play sports in the afternoon, after school. And#I started playing baseball.

When did you switch to basketball? And what motivates you to do it? This was when I was 7 years old, and you could say that my cousin played a decisive role in it. He played in the Cuban Basketball League, and also in the national team, and I went to see his games. I remember during breaks I would go to the court and shoot baskets, and I had a lot of fun. Soon, I started playing basketball at school, first on concrete courts. At the same time, at home I was watching NBA videos.

At the age of 19, he went to play in Argentina. In my country it is more difficult to play professionally. I used to travel with the Cuban team, although I have never spent much time alone away from home, away from my whole family. At first it is complicated, because you will live in another country, another culture. However, I have very good friends and find all the facilities there to grow. My stay in Argentina was a wonderful experience in every way.

He was named the League’s Best Player last year, in the 2022-23 season, with Gimnasia y Esgrima. Basketball is a team sport, and it is no longer an individual title. However, this is an exciting recognition, because it is a reward for the effort made. Obviously, there are many people who contributed to the award: #I have good coaches and good teammates who always help me, who push me to grow, who give me permanent advice to keep improving every day. In Argentina I matured and learned a lot, which was the goal I set for myself when I left Cuba.

Seen the best version of Mencía in Zaragoza? Of course not. I can give more. In fact, I’m still used to European basketball, where the type of game is faster, with a higher physicality than I’m used to. Adaptation is not easy and it takes time, although I am on the right path. The crash was shocking, but nothing that work and dedication can’t overcome. Meanwhile, I’m trying to do my best to keep the coach’s trust and continue to have more opportunities with the team.

Despite all the setbacks, Casademont has nine victories in the domestic tournament. A lot of things have happened to us since the start of the season. It is clear that our side is unlucky, because many are injured and many are injured. So it has a lot of merit, at this point of the year, to have achieved nine wins in the Endesa League, where no opponent gives you an easy time.

The delegation has only played three games, we have nine wins, but we still have the squad for more. In all the difficulties we experienced, the team showed that it never gives up, that it always competes, and that should be praised.

What are the real aspirations of Europe? We are now qualified for the quarterfinals. We have the team to keep moving forward, even if we want to play game by game. For now, this Wednesday we close the group stage against Manisa, and we only think about this game.

World Nation News Desk
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