He arrives at the great event in Malaga after winning the five games he has played against Euroleague teams (against Laso’s own team, Barça, Baskonia and twice Valencia). Half of the workforce is the one that amounted to the ACB
«We are playing very well against almost everyone. We are shameless, we are not afraid, we are a cheerful, dynamic team that does not speculate, who likes to quickly find the hoop and run ». This is how Javi Salgado, one of Álex Mumbrú’s assistants and legend of Bilbao Basket, defines Madrid’s rival in the quarterfinals. In the Botxo jokes that they have touched the easy part of the painting. «Yes, first Madrid and then Barça or Valencia. It is the easy part, no doubt, ”says the former player retired last season after leaving Bilbao back at the ACB.
His team is the revelation of the season. Comes fifth to the Cup, with thirteen victories in 21 days and having won the five games he has played against the Euroleague teams (Real Madrid, Barça, Baskonia and twice at Valencia). All those victories came in tight matches: between one and four points ahead.
And is that Bilbao is much more than Athletic. «Here there has always been a tradition of basketball since the time of KAS and CajaBilbao. And the birth of Bilbao Basket what he did was to revive a hobby that was latent. Evidently We are not Athletic because that is a religion, but we have an admirable social mass. When we were in LEB 6,000-7,000 people came to Miribilla, an entry that most ACB teams do not have today. We have to breastfeed for the club we have », defends Javi Salgado. And remember the difficult times: «We passed a very, very complicated stage. Now we are better after the bankruptcy. Debts are being paid and the most important thing is that the club attains stability. We are the lowest budget of the ACB in salaries and the year is marked by austerity ». The squad reflects that austerity: «We have six players who last year were in LEB. And between Rafa Pueyo – sports director – and Álex Mumbrú made the template and had a very good eye. There is a very long and competitive team, with twelve players. We are not the typical team that spends money in two or three and the rest are stuffed. They have been successful in almost all signings and that is a little miracle ». Salgado has cited a key figure. Is the technician Alex Mumbru. «It is quieter than as a player. He has an experience as a huge player and that allows him to know how and when he has to address each player. Because of his style, he reminds me a little of Aito on the subject of rotations and intensity, ”he says. And the formula to face Madrid? “It’s very complicated because he has guys like Facu, Tavares and very physical players … We have to try to get Tavares out of his position and his defense is not well positioned. There is always a quarter-final in which there is a surprise or in which the favorite goes to the limit. We will see…”