The coach of Retabet Bilbao Basket, Real Madrid's rival, talks with EL MUNDO about his team's role in the Cup
It has been more than a decade since Álex Mumbrú (Barcelona, 1979) arrived in Bilbao from Real Madrid. At this time, the world champion has lived through everything: a League final and a Eurocup final, a quarter-finals of Euroleague, a five-year period of non-payments and, on the day of his withdrawal, a descent to LEB Gold. «Me I took as a personal challenge to return the team to the ACB League. And it went well, ”he remembers now about his sudden jump from the track to the bench. Back to the top category, his Retabet Bilbao Basket has sneaked against the odds, in the Copa del Rey held tomorrow, with Real Madrid as a fearsome rival in the quarterfinals.
- Many predictions of the beginning of the season placed them as colistas. However, they are in the Copa del Rey and arrive as fifth in the ACB League.
- We made a template with seven players who had been in LEB, it was logical that people thought that our site was not the ACB and that we were clear candidates for relegation. Having the lowest staff budget in the League, making a mistake in signing can sentence you in one season. We always try that the error is minimal and this year we have had success. We made a very good first round and based on good basketball we have taken a great dynamic.
- They have defeated the four Euroleague teams. It is not normal.
- No, it is not. But it has a trick. There are times that they play Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday and we only do it on Sunday. Surely the small teams could not compete against them if they did not have such an abusive schedule. That is why I now find it difficult to win a team like Real Madrid again. Of the 80 games they have each season, 60 are playing them, but Euroleague and ACB Cup and playoffs compete in a very different way. It is a team made to win everything.
- Complete the sentence: This Cup for Bilbao Basket is …
- A joy. We go to Malaga to compete, of course, but for us it is a gift that we have to enjoy. What does not take away so that we want to make a good game against Madrid and try to surprise, even if it is complicated.
- Why did you become a coach?
- I had been thinking for a while that I liked basketball and that I understood it differently. I liked being with the technicians, looking at what they were doing and learning from them. While I was active I took my degree, it was something I had in my head.
- Did you feel vertigo in your immediate jump from the court to the bench?
- It was very fast and at that time you do not know if it was more appropriate to launch or start in lower categories or as an assistant. The opportunity came to me and I do not regret having taken it, because things have gone well.
- Did you fear after the descent that the fans lost their enthusiasm for the team, to disengage?
- The best thing that happened to us is not to go to the Cup, but we descended with 10,000 people in the pavilion and we still have them now. That is the really nice thing about Bilbao Basket, all the fans that drag.
- Were you so decisive that the club did not die as it has been in the popular imagination?
- Well I do not know. Probably not. I contributed my grain of sand, helping in what I could, but there were more important players like Axel Hervelle and Raúl López who also did it, a directive that fought a lot, many people who forgave money in the creditors' contest … There were many people who at the time contributed their grain of sand, because what we needed was a mountain of sand to save the club. It was the result of the work of many people.
- How much did you sacrifice personally for the club to move on?
- Having offers from another team and not leaving, knowing that I was certain that I was not going to collect my contract … I sacrificed things, but I always did it thinking that it was the best for the club. It was what I thought I had to do. The fans gave us back with their love all the sacrifices we made and we could not abandon them.
- It was worth it?
- Today Bilbao Basket is in the ACB League and is going to play a Cup. Of course everything was worth it.
According to the criteria of