Fuenlabrada, saved 25 players and three coaches later

Madrid, May 10 (EFE) .- Mission accomplished for Urbas Fuenlabrada. Three games before the end, his eleven victories and the defeat of Movistar Estudiantes against Monbus Obradoiro (83-94) allow him to mathematically ensure his permanence in the Endesa League. A success for which he needed 25 players, two squads, and three coaches.

The final impulse of the whole of the south of the Community of Madrid, designed by the Barcelona coach Josep María Raventós, able to get his team to score four victories in the seven games he has directed, have allowed ‘Fuenla’ to reach its goal, continue in the highest category of Spanish basketball where they will be for the twenty-fourth year in their history, after much turbulence.

A project that started the Valladolid Paco García, who had taken the team last year in a hurry – he was occupying a relegation place when the season had to be stopped due to the pandemic, in which he remained thanks to the decision of the ACB- . The five starting losses caused his cessation and the departure of assistant coach Anna Montañana.

To straighten the course, Javier Juárez arrived at Fernando Martín, who won four games of his first five but since then only added wins in three of the next 16, which caused his departure and the step forward of Raventós, until then assistant coach, who He applied his experience of five years at the club to touch the necessary springs with which to ensure salvation.

In this journey, Fuenlabrada has used 25 players, including three homegrown players -Juanjo Santana, the Latvian Rodijs Macoha and the Malian Bassala Bagayoko, a record for precocity of the ACB when he debuted at 14 years and 7 months-, practically two complete squads. , due to the multiple changes of players, both due to injuries and transfers that did not contribute what was expected.

In this huge roster of troops, the problems in the pivot position stand out: the season began with the American Robert Upshaw, in which rhythm problems were quickly perceived, he was used to replace the Jamaican Shevon Thompson and the Serbian Oliver Stevic, but the The first did not finish convincing and the second left for Herbalife Gran Canaria shortly after.

To the difficulties in finding the right interior were added injuries – especially those of the Spanish Osas Ehigiator and the Estonian Siim-Sander Vene – or the players who did not convince in the managerial changes, such as the Ukrainian Alexander Bobrov or the Bosnian Njegos Sikiras . In January the Canadian Kyle Alexander and the Americans Josh Sharma and Kwan Cheatham arrived, and for the last weeks the Malian Cheick Diallo joined.

Despite so much movement in the interior positions, the ‘Fuenla’ based one of his hallmarks of the season on the rebound, being the second best team in the championship in offensive rebound (12.18 sacks per game) and the sixth between both hoops (35.5 per match). To the will in the sacks he added the defensive impetus to be the third best team recovering balls (8.48 per game).

Along with these defensive characteristics, Urbas built their attack around a figure: the American point guard Melo Trimble, top scorer in the Endesa League with 17.2 points per game. His performances have gone from more to less: after starring in five consecutive games at the start with more than 20 points -of which only one of them served for the victory-, his contribution was declining, with specific peaks (30 points to Betis , 31 to Obradoiro), and his problems with turnovers have ended up placing him as a guard, with Serbian Jovan Novak -another January signing- or Slovenian Ziga Samar directing the game.

Around Trimble there have been other players who have been as decisive at times as irregular in others, cases such as the Brazilian Leo Meindl (11.2 points and 5.9 rebounds on average), Marc García (10.3 points, currently injured), the Congolese Chrisitan Eyenga (8.8 points and 3.7 rebounds) or the Nigerian Obi Emegano (9.8 points and 2.8 rebounds).

It remains to be seen how many of them continue in the Fuenlabrada project next season, for which the unknowns begin with the coach. Raventós so far has preferred to focus on the day to day when he has been asked about his future.

With the permanence assured, the ‘Fuenla’ has three games ahead to enjoy, against Retabet Bilbao, Coosur Betis and Valencia Basket, and start working on the project for its next season, the twenty-fourth in the highest category of Spanish basketball for this humble Madrid team.

Miguel Angel Moreno

(c) EFE Agency

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