A Yunio Barrueta (Passenger Water, Cuba, 1993) His life changed the day his father got a visa for USA In a draw. He left the island when he was five years old, got hooked on basketball when he was twelve and, after going through Belgium, France and Israel, now it’s in the Leyma to go up to CBA and to enjoy A Coruna and of life in a Spanish-speaking country. In the talk she reveals her gratitude for living the experience and she sees herself sprinkled with words in English.
He has been in Leyma and A Coruña for two months now. How does she feel?
I’m comfortable, I love the city, the team is super. My teammates received me well, the coach, the president, the staff… Zero complaints.
At this time it already rains around here a little more than in Miami…
Well, at first, when I arrived, it was very hot in A Coruña (laughs), because I didn’t have air conditioning at home. The sun, the beach… Look where we train (points to the windows of the Palace from where you can see the sea). Everything is beautiful here.
He is almost 30 years old and has a Spanish-speaking upbringing. Was coming to Spain an outstanding debt?
I always wanted to play here, since my first year. I had it in mind. I had never had a good opportunity and this year I came up with a good team and with Epi and the president, who spoke very well to me. And I said to myself “why not?” I love Spain and I can speak the language.
Is he Cuban or American?
When I was five years old, my father won the hype, which is a visa lottery that takes place every year in Cuba and that is why we left there. They pay your plane ticket and you are free to go to the United States. It’s amazing, I thank God every day for freedom. It changed my life. Cuba is a third world country, I can imagine being there at this age… When I was eight years old I spent two weeks back visiting my uncles and grandmothers. I have to go back, my grandmother is still there, in the country.
Can you play with the national team? Did he try or was it impossible?
I wanted the truth and I tried, but they told me that I had to live there, that I had to repatriate.
How did you end up in basketball?
I first started with football American, but my mother told me that I couldn’t play it because it took too many hits (laughs) and I started basketball in high school when I was 12 years old. I was good at it and I liked it.
Do you notice a lot of difference between the first French and the LEB Gold?
The level is the same, although in France there are more athletes, it is more physical, one on one. In Spain they are more intelligent, they move the ball a lot. You have to adapt. If you play France style here, they kill you. The level is great, I love it. This one is better for me, for a shooter (thrower), like me, a team that moves the ball is good for me. In France he was standing on the court for a long time and he didn’t do much in attack more in defense.
How did the Leyma convince you?
Epi (Diego Epifanio, the coach) told me that it was a young team and that he was calling me to help this city get up to the ACB, although the first thing is always to compete. Everywhere I go I always go with the idea of moving up, of winning. There was a good locker room, they wanted to make a good team; with that he won me.
How has it been integrated?
Here I can have more relationship with the players, even with people outside. When you go to buy food you can talk to everyone. Here I can have friends of many years. We are always talking about one thing or another in the locker room and I don’t have to keep quiet because I don’t know how to say it, like in France. The language is basic.
A lot of joker in the locker room?
Yes (laughs). Javi (Vega), (Alejandro) Galán… Everyone here is a joker, even Filipovic, even if he’s from Croatia. There are a lot of pranks every day. They are good people, it is the team in which I have been in which everyone gets along best. The chemistry is incredible, it only remains to take him from the locker room to the track. We are there working hard and outside too because we are going to eat a lot together. That helps and makes me feel more accompanied because I’m here alone.
What is missing to carry all that feeling to the track?
It is to continue, it is not that it is lacking. In the good moments there is never a problem, but the bad ones will come. When you lose two games, that’s when chemistry matters. The other day we won by twenty, we have to adapt to that again, feel comfortable in that dynamic.
It seems that the team has points on its hands. Do you share it?
Here all players can make easy 20 points per game. The only thing is that sometimes you have to put that aside: you don’t win games with a player, but as a team. You have to move the ball, look for the best shots, don’t bounce so much, run back on defense. They are small things, you have to work on them
How do you see the temperature of the Palace? Do you think it can go up?
People came to the last game. We have to start winning to tell them that we have a good team, that they have to bring more people. If we start to win, the pavilion will fill up and the city will help.
Do you consider that the objective is promotion, despite fighting with teams like Estudiantes or Andorra?
We can compete with anyone. Even if it’s Real Madrid, we have to play against each other on the pitch, which is where things happen. You always have to fight, as if we win or lose by 20.
We want to give thanks to the author of this short article for this incredible material
Yunio Barrueta: “We left Cuba because my father got a visa in a lottery”