Sergio-Valdeolmillos-21-10-Sergio Valdeolmillos didn’t have to think long and hard about the opportunity that came his way after his glorious achievement this summer as coach of Mexico’s national team.

The 46-year-old led the country to a first-ever FIBA Americas Championship title and also to a place at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

Shortly after, Mexican LNBP club Halcones de Xalapa offered him a chance to coach their team, one that has many of the national team players he led to the top of the podium in Caracas, Venezuela, on 11 September.

Valdeolmillos grabbed the Xalapa reins with both hands, thus allowing him to coach national team players Jovan Harris, Orlando Melendez, Hector Fernandez, Noe Alonzo and David Meza.

“Our expectations are varied and diverse,” he said.

“The first is to compete in order to win.

“I am aware that I’m in a team that has a winning tradition.

“On the other hand, we are interested that the players from the Mexican national team maintain an important level, first for Xalapa and then in view of the FIBA World Cup.

“Lastly, we want to change the ideal, more in the team and with exciting play, and see how that goes.

“I have brought players from Spain that have a lot of quality but to make the Mexican players better, not for them to take the majority of the shots.”

Unlike Spain, where he coached for two decades and led clubs like CB Granada and Leche Rio Breogan, Valdeolmillos hasn’t had the luxury of a pre-season to get his players ready.

“I believe in planning,” he said, “and I’ve always said that the pre-season is very important, but curiously, when I came to Mexico I don’t have days to train, to have a pre-season. I have nothing, but I have to adapt and it’s not the best.

“For my peace and that of the players, I understand that in this tournament you have a lot of play-offs and the most important thing you play for is the final, there we will have an opportunity to compete.”


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