“I hope this year we will be the surprise”

Photo: Laura Gentini

Martín López will officially debut at the helm of Remeros in the face of the next Women’s League that is coming up. The club that rests on the banks of the Río Negro is preparing to face its third consecutive competition in the main division and the new technical director spoke with Básquet Total.

How has the preparation been?

Luckily we have had two months to train quite well. This year we were able to add a couple more days of training on the main court. We are practicing for three days on the court, which is enough. Last year hopefully we had a court day or two. This is adding a lot to us and here a high performance center was built where the teams train the physical part and we are also adding hours to train there. We are quite complete thinking about the start but the only complicated thing is that until now we have not always had a practice with the full squad. Some travel and little by little we get organized.

How do you take being in command of the campus for the first time?

This is my first experience because when they told me last year it was the middle of nowhere, because I was doing the courses for when I stopped playing, see my position but all this happened. By regulation last year I could not but my relationship with Nacho (Borges) made him offer to take the squad despite training together. We were a coaching staff. He helped me a lot because with him he was barbaric and capable that it would only have been a little more complicated. See how he worked, the experience and others was priceless.

Rowers year after year has been constantly exceeding, how is the situation handled?

I agree that we are on the rise and we take it with ease. This year there is an important transition and at the beginning we were not sure what could happen. This started as a group of friends who were encouraged to play in Montevideo and this year there are four of the oldest who do not play anymore due to different personal situations. A complex replacement came because the bridge between the majors and the formative, those with 14 and 15, is still very large. It just happened that due to the whole situation of the pandemic we were able to recruit some players who are going to raise our level even more. I am very happy and with expectation because there is a much younger team but with some with experiences that makes the mix interesting. I want to see how they respond on the court.

What is keeping the flame alive that Remeros comes to the capital for another year to play?

The first year, when they got together, they were a group of girls who always played basketball and when they were older, due to different situations, they decided on a theme simply to say: “What if we cheer ourselves up?” Then everything went quite well to the point that nowadays they are talking about a project in Rowers about why not start playing training in Montevideo. It is a complex issue and I know it because I lived it last year. They make an important effort to compete for the travel issue, collect the money for the micro and a thousand other things than if you think about it cold and in another situation it might not be done. There is also a reality that this team has nowhere to compete here because it is a level team and there is no competition on the return leg. There are formations, older ones but the level is not as evolved as the League. If they stayed here, the players who are now would not play.

How does coming to the capital play a role?

It’s something we’re still fighting for. The gurisas the first year put a requirement to enter, that you can play in Rowers, fight for the locality. Last year the situation became very complicated for them because every weekend traveling to the capital was impossible and those who were leaving, it was for that reason. There was a date that was suspended due to rain and humidity and had to be played during the week. That to the gurisas he split them in the middle because they all work, they all had to ask for the day and that is why it is something that now was insisted again and we asked our delegate to fight the locality at least to bring, even if there is no public , to the clubs of Montevideo here, that that be respected.

Silvie Bouissa and Nina Tiscornia joined the squad, what can the two champions bring you?

Luckily, with Sylvie, before the pandemic he had a little decided that he was going to come here because of an issue that he changed his job and had the possibility of traveling and being, we are super happy. She is the captain of the last champions. We have known her all our life here and she is a good friend of all the girls in the club, so it was inevitable that at some point she would come to be with us. The issue of the pandemic ended up opening the door for Nina to arrive, we never imagined with Nacho that we would have the chance to have both of them and with the level that they finished last year. Promptly Nina finished with a tremendous level. In addition to their arrival, Florencia Spinelli from Salto arrived, who had a passage in Malvín and is a very good player. It came for similar situations. Classes started to be by zoom, there is no university in Montevideo, the girls were left hanging and gurisas gathered who would not have been able to come otherwise.

Rowers have a very even team in all positions, can that be a plus?

Undoubtedly yes and more because of the mixture of ages that was formed. The trainings have been dynamic, intense because there are many young gurisas and we have 5 girls of 15, 16 years old who have already been there and who give tremendous intensity to the training. I am convinced that the great difference between the teams from Montevideo and us is more due to work volume than anything else. In Montevideo, even when I played there, all the clubs train five or six times a week, with four days physical and here we were used to it three times a week and that continues to happen to us a little today. I’m sure that if we had the chance to practice every day, this team would train every day and it would be something else. But there are extra issues that are impossible to handle.

It was one of the seasons where there were more passes between teams, could this have matched the League?

Yes because for all the clubs the pandemic was a problem. In the specific case of Nina, who is the one who is here and because she has told me about it, it is that the girls from the interior are not worth being in Montevideo and while others who were in other teams were tested by others in exchange of some income that does not happen for being economic but for some other side. Whenever I was in Montevideo and in the teams that Metro played, I lived the constant movement between them and there is still no sense of belonging except for Malvín, which is probably due to the structure of the club, I imagine. From what I have been told, Defensor’s squad was also disarmed a bit and the issue is somewhat complex, which can also happen due to the availability of fields that they may have and are in clubs that do not give much importance to the female and they decide to leave. It seems to me that it comes from one side of the little professionalization so far. Hopefully a future will come and players can be kept in certain clubs for longer, paying them obviously.

The regulation change allows Melina Zapata to become a national record, will they go for a foreigner?

We are in constant conversation with Nacho about this topic. He is the head of basketball here and all decisions go through him, or rather, I want those decisions to go through him as well, he is the one to advise. It is open and you can talk about everything and we have handled this case. The issue is in the constant support of the club. The gurisas came to see what was happening with the League and the club has always collaborated every year to continue taking steps. This year we got more court time and we got the high-performance center. Today I do not know if the club is prepared to put “x” amount of money to bring a foreigner and everything that entails. Melina’s case was easier because she was here and I think that if the situation wasn’t like that, I don’t know if we had a foreigner. We do not rule it out because with this format we are doing well and recently, as all the clubs have done, we brought a foreigner from here like Gualeguaychú and we reinforced the team in the last month. Ulises Ramírez, who is in charge of the entire captaincy of the club, leaves the rooms for the girls from the interior and they can come any day. They stay here, they go shooting, they have the pool, the gym and that is important. This is a large indoor club and it is a focal point. There are little girls from Salto, Paysandý and Fray Bentos competing in Rowers. The goal of all the girls is to play in Rowers to be able to compete in the League unless you go to Montevideo to study or whatever. Little by little the club will give more importance to the female

Do you see a fixed candidate to stay with the League?

The candidates are the same ones who usually compete year after year. Malvín is undoubtedly going to be fighting for the championship. I have seen Hebraica and Macabi very well with Luis (Pierri) at the helm. Bohemios is always a good rival. Defensor Sporting this year may be a mystery because many players left and I do not know how they are going to replace them. I saw that Aguada brought several players. I am not sure how the tournament will come but they will be the same as always upstairs. But there are always two or three surprises, I hope that this year it will be us and we can get on top. I am very happy and eager to see them compete. Surely we will have a friendly before the start because training and playing is very different. We also did not have the full roster and that can make us a positive or pleasant surprise.

What are your expectations for this year?

Be as high as possible. Due to the format of this year where there is a Silver Cup again, the short-term objective would be to be able to get there, at least. From there it is to go higher and higher. We have the potential to be able to fight the teams above without hesitation. It will be a mystery until we play the first game.