«It is absolutely incredible to have been promoted to LEB Plata with this crew»

CB Santurtzi faced this season with the ambitious goal of sneaking into the upper part of their group in the EBA League.

«It is absolutely incredible to have been promoted to LEB Plata with this crew»

CB Santurtzi faced this season with the ambitious goal of sneaking into the upper part of their group in the EBA League. It was already a challenge because they were facing real ocean liners that doubled their budget. A far cry from even the most optimistic forecasts was the real milestone they ended up achieving last weekend. The purple team has managed to make its squad a united and compact block, which its own members call a "gang", and have managed to overcome all moments of adversity, to the point of giving a historic bell and materializing their promotion to LEB Plata.

The season has been a complete success for the Santurtzitarras from start to finish. In the league, they were the living example of never throwing in the towel, achieving numerous epic comebacks that kept them at the top of the table. This enhanced the confidence of all its members and, day after day, they surprised locals and strangers until culminating in a feat that has already become one of the brightest pages in the club's history. They were proclaimed champions of their EBA League group, thus ensuring a ticket to the promotion play-off. A play-off where a priori they started as one of the 'Cinderellas', despite their excellent role.

Their performance in the league was so solemn that they were able to certify the lead ahead of time. In this way, they began to prepare the play-off exhaustively a month in advance. That preparation focused more on the mental aspect than on the merely sporting. The coaching staff organized several talks with people who are true examples of self-improvement and also surprised the players with emotional videos of their families and friends, among other things. Íñigo Núñez, the team's coach, reveals that "in this way we tried to get together a lot and be very clear about our role, in the sense that we had to grow from the effort".

As the captains affirm, "the message got through very well." Thus they traveled with their batteries charged to that final phase in Huelva where they would face three other clubs that were much more favorite than them to take the cat to the water. "We were not in anyone's pools, there was a coach who said that he did not know us," acknowledges Pablo Albisu. Another captain like Javi Mazo adds that "we had that dream of being promoted, but it couldn't be our goal, we focused on competing as we knew how." It was then that "the definitive turning point" occurred in the form of victory against Alcobendas in the first of the games of this play-off (67-71).

“We won without playing our best game and still we were superior. That made us realize that we could mess it up”, highlights Íñigo Núñez. After that encounter, "an unrepeatable mentalization process is created," he expands. Several coaching sessions were very fruitful. In particular, a harangue by Pablo Albisu himself based on a video of a player from the Turkish Buraspor -the revelation team of the Euroleague-. He came to say something like "we were the 'underdogs' -covered-, but we competed as pitbulls, and that way we could give the bell", argues the protagonist. Javi Mazo asserts that "that covered role came in handy for us."

In this way, they faced the second match against a giant like L'Hospitalet, "with a very clear plan in sports and we arrived mentally very grown," says the coach. They will never forget the result: 78-74 to officially become a silver LEB team. It was even before playing the last game against Huelva, who they also won (55-58). “It is a great joy, they told me at the beginning of the season that we were going to be promoted and I would not have even remotely dreamed of it”, declares Javi Mazo. Along the same lines, Pablo Albisu indicates that "it is an unthinkable dream". The captains maintain that the key has been the camaraderie between them. "We are a gang," they say.

Íñigo Núñez, who has assumed practically all possible roles in this club, always showing great roots and a feeling of belonging, states that this promotion means "everything" for him. "There are no words to describe it, I'm still coming to terms with it," he adds. Likewise, he slides that "it is absolutely incredible to have been promoted to LEB Plata with this crew." Now it remains to be seen if CB Santurtzi have sufficient economic capacity to ensure what they have earned in the field and that is that they must meet several requirements to compete in this third national level. The coach makes an appeal: "we need private investment and the involvement of institutions to multiply this year's budget by four."