It was in September when the arrival of Gianluca Pozo (33) to the bench of the U23 national basketball team was confirmed. A great challenge considering that his first task was to participate in the South American Games of Asunción 2022where Chile should face, for the most part, adult teams from the continent.
But the young coach gave the big surprise, winning the tournament title with his team and giving one of the most important gold medals to Chile team.
Just days after that, the professional had to take on another challenge, as a technician for the University of Vina del Mar in the National University played at the Casa del Deporte. Another instance of celebration since he kept the crown by defeating the U. Austral. Route in dispatched to UdeC in the semi-finals, in the early final.
“He was the toughest rival, he put together the tournament to be champion with a great team and a coaching staff that has won everything. It was very difficult, with a full gym against us, but we came in very well defensively and it was key. Leave at 46 points (the UVM won 61-46) to the UdeC It is almost impossible and we did it”, he says about that duel.
Coup in Paraguay
Gianluca Pozo acknowledges that what was done in Asunción 2022 was not in anyone’s plans. “It was a total surprise, it wasn’t what we were going for at all. We faced the stellar Paraguayan team, they were all adults. Although Colombia had a mixture, it was with players from the senior team, from the local league and from the United States. Perhaps that is not dimensioned here in Chile, because they think that the tournament was under 23 and not that only we were in that category. It was incredible, we can play several more times with Paraguay and the same teams, and we are not going to beat them; It was the night where everything happened, ”he asserts.
In that sense, the Viñamarino maintains that the strategy was simple: play from small to big. “I discussed it with the players prior to the tournament, that until now we haven’t won too many things to think about playing in another way and the team understood. . Defending the entire court, proposing, being aggressive, not going out to wait to see if the rival was having a bad day to beat them, but attacking the other team with our weapons and seeing how far it would reach us”, he points out.
“I think that with the stellar team we should do the same, regardless of who is the DT. It is a good message of what Chile should do, because we play against great teams on the continent”, he adds.
Regarding his aspirations, Pozo does not get dizzy and prefers to continue burning stages. “The Odesurs were not a goal, and directing the national team was not part of my plans so soon. My goals are to continue growing as a coach, to focus on my club (Sportiva Italiana) where we have the women’s league. Post-pandemic we have been very competitive in both teams (he also directs the men’s team) and despite not believing ourselves more than anyone else, we can fight anyone, ”he says.
And he closes, “that is what I do with my career, I know that I am young, that I face coaches like Cipriano (Núñez) who have a lot of advantage over me in titles, games, experience, and that is what happens to me with most of the technical. So I have to keep improving and making my team grow, which is also very young”.
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Gianluca Pozo: under his hand the future of Chilean basketball is brewing