The round of notes to the coaches of the Uruguayan League went to Pando to seek the word of Esteban Yaquinta, the coach of Urupan in his first time in this tournament and with whom he made the ladder from third to first division.
How is Urupan preparing for its first Liga?
With great enthusiasm and with great joy, not only on the campus but also throughout the city that is accompanying the project. Also with some concern because today (yesterday) ten days before the tournament starts, we still do not have the complete team for the players that we have in El Metro. Foreigners came to us a day ago, also because of their participation in El Metro. We are now hastily adjusting the last details.
What happens in all the days before the championship starts …
Yes. What happens is that we continue with organizational errors on the part of our basketball that are repeated. Then they talk about the low level or that the basketball we have is not the right one for which we have to have, but a complete team to prepare a National League, I will have ten days. It is time to change certain things in our basketball regulations that continue to be delayed, that are not productive, and that are counterproductive in the long run.
Moving on to talk about what you have been able to work on, which are most of the major chips. How did you see them so far?
We have been able to work with the two Mateos (Sarni and Suárez) and with Hernando Cáceres from the beginning. Later Ottonello and Trelles were incorporated, as their teams were eliminated in El Metro. For now we are adapting. Some are players that I have already worked with, who know our philosophy, a bit putting them in the gear and who know what we expect of them. These days we have been inserting the foreigners to adjust the last details with some friendlies that we have played lately, which have been very productive and this week we are going to be having a home run.
Speaking of foreigners, I already know Zygimantas Riauka, but you didn’t direct Antonio Bivins before. What did you think of the games you played in El Metro with Unión Atlética and the training sessions you shared?
Antonio is a player with very high energy, extremely athletic, and we have to take advantage of that. Out there it is a bit anarchic at times, but we are taking it where we want it. He is a smart player, he adapted to the squad and the city. We have high expectations. The fact of bringing two foreign forwards can give us a versatility that can be very interesting.
And what about Brandon Boggs, the third foreigner, what did you see?
Brandon arrived a few days ago. He is a shooting guard adapting to what our basketball is. It is the first time that he has come to South America, he is a very interesting player who in friendlies has had important streaks when he warms up his hand. He is getting used to what we want and he is one of whom we ask more because he is one of our tools that will make the whole team play. But it is going well, in the adaptation process that we need.
A Uruguayan League team that has only one of the internal foreigners and the other two perimeter is striking.
Yes, the idea was more than anything to make a highly dynamic team and for that we think the possibility of having two foreign forwards is very interesting. In addition, Hernando Cáceres, who repeats at the club, is a bit the banner of this project. So with him and with the possibility of having brought Seba Ottonello, who for me is a player who is growing noticeably, we are very well in that power forward position that allows us to have this possibility.
What did you think of Sebastián Ottonello’s El Metro?
Seba made a very good Metro. Likewise, the roles are different in the second division and in the first division, but we bet on young teams with players who are far from their ceiling and who want to continue progressing. Sebastián is a clear example of that: a player who comes to more. We are going to try to help him and for him to help us improve each other.
In the case of the Under 23s, the only one you have been able to count on so far is Pedro Sansone …
Yes, Pedro started training today. Only after the elimination of Unión Atlética was it possible to join the training sessions. I had very good references about him, I did not know him and it was a pleasant surprise in training.
And you are waiting to be able to count on Felipe García who is defining El Metro with Larre Borges …
That’s how it is. I know Fela (García) a little more from playing against him, we have never worked together but it generates a great expectation to give him the minutes that, as I was saying about Ottonello, are one of those players who we think are coming and going to find their place in Urupan to play calmly and confidently, because we all hope that they will grow in their performance.
What notes could you get from the friendlies that you played so far?
When you play friendlies, it’s something I always tell the players, that we don’t care about the results but about the team’s performance and being able to draw conclusions. You rotate the team in a way that is not real in a serious game and a lot of things. But we are fine, in search of what we need. An aggressive defense, but more than anything a team operation forward, that the ball touches the ground little, a lot of passes and always seeks with an extra pass the definition of the teammate who is alone.
You did the ascending ladder with Urupan, going from DTA to Metro and then reaching the Uruguayan League. How does it feel to see all the way you’ve gone so far?
It is an enormous joy because one thinks that a few months ago we came to this city and to a club that we did not know to weigh our weapons in DTA and in a short time, seeing the reality that we have, is an enormous satisfaction. But it also has to be satisfaction in the process, not only sports in the team, but also the professionalization that Urupan is having as a club. The works that are being done, the improvement of a lot of infrastructure that we have had, have our own scouting place in the club, have changed the boards, have brought special fans so that there are no humidity problems in the stadium, etc. The club is pursuing that search for professionalization and I am very happy to have been able to do my bit so that Urupan consolidates itself as a strong first division team.
It sounds like something similar to what happened with Urunday, for example.
Similar, but we must not forget that Urupan is a team from the interior and here everything costs a little more. Even for a population issue, they are much less than in Montevideo. But I see that, a firm path with young leaders and pushers, who know where they are going and that regardless of the sporting aspect, the results itself, we are improving the club for the future. All the things that we are improving for this Uruguayan League are actually going to remain for the future of the institution, and that is very nice.
Pando as a city accompanied a lot what was the DTA in which they went up and it was a party when they won El Metro last year. What do you breathe there in the face of the League?
There is great expectation, no doubt. The other day we did the presentation match of the squad against Hebraica and the tickets were sold out. These days a home run is going to be played and there is great expectation to see the most armed team. You can tell in the street, in every place you go, that there is great expectation, but above all that the whole city is supporting the team and that comforts you.