David Doblas: Master of Intensity
By: PABLO CORMICK
CONCORDIA (DIRECTV Liga de las Américas 2018) - David Doblas is, for all of those who followed his performances at DIRECTV Liga de las Américas 2018, a nice surprise. Almost as surprising as his team, Estudiantes de Concordia, which achieved more than just a fourth place. The 36-year-old Spanish center was born in Santander and was the most outstanding in his position during the continental competition. He averaged 10 points and 5 rebounds per game, but his qualities go beyond numbers: he’s intelligent when passing the ball to the better positioned man, a fighter for every rebound, intense in the defense and a leader that transmits his energy to the rest of the team.
After 16 years as a professional player in Spain and after passing through Greece, Doblas arrived at Estudiantes beacuase he was summoned by Lucas Victoriano, whom he knew because they played against each other at Liga ACB. “I decided to come to Argentina because this is a country that I already knew after vacationing there six or seven times, when I went to visit my good friend Federico Kammerichs. Besides, I observed the competition level, I saw that there are many good players (a lot of whom played in Spain) and felt attracted to it because it's a serious, long and organized competition. And, most importantly, he was the coach that really wanted me. Lucas insisted and told me that I would fit perfectly,” Doblas says.
The center from Cantabria feels very comfortable in Argentina. He explains: “The country's characteristics, and because they're culturally very similar to Spain, helped me to integrate in society. I even forget I'm in Argentina and when they talk about foreigners I almost don't consider myself as one because of all the similarities; including the language, which is the same. I really like all the sharing, be it for an asado or a round of mate. Getting together in a house with friends, which is something that’s not as common in Spain anymore, turns the team into a family.”
Estudiantes, a club with a low budget, qualified in second place in Group C and did the same in Group F, where they eliminated Guaros and Bauru, who had been Liga de las Américas champions in three previous seasons. In the first game of the Final4 they faced San Lorenzo. When the game was still balanced (later on it was a victory 101-78 victory for the locals), Doblas and Gabriel Deck had a verbal and physical confrontation that ended in insults by the public that filled the Polideportivo Roberto Pando in Buenos Aires. The fans targeted the Spanish player’s physique, with shouts and songs that described him as “fat and obese.” Doblas overcame it calmly and without resentments: “Argentines insult with wit, but more than feeling attacked, I feel motivated. As long as there's no violence, that they just look for ways to laugh at you, I think it's part of the game. As a matter of fact, I loved the environment at the San Lorenzo court. I had to face the best player of Argentina and after a shove I tried to take away his concentration, but he kept it and scored 30 points against us. Later I told him he's my favorite player. I enjoyed the game as I hadn't done so in a long time. The public values a brave and strong player and despite the insults I applauded them, and they acknowledged that.”
Doblas describes himself as “brave and strong.” Intensity is a characteristic he portrays since his beginnings. He goes to each ball as if it were the last one, even in trainings, and this caused some inconveniences. “At Granada, I was coached by Sergio Valdeolmillos. I was 21 and he told me that I could only throw myself to the floor two times per week. I lunged to fight for every ball and that meant that we had to stop training to clean the floor because my teammate's were at risk of an injury,” David remembers. “It's possible that I got some warning because on Monday I had already done so twice, and I still had the rest of the week ahead,” the center adds.
Doblas’ intensity goes beyond the courts. When he goes out with his friends, he puts all his efforts into them having a good time, and he's the most fun: “I always try to be relaxed, to be cool. When I go out at night I don't have a single beer. Before I would drink soda and people would joke that I drank it mixed with rum, so now I just drink water so that people don’t say that I'm going around drunk. The people I see again the next day will say “you were so drunk yesterday,” but the truth is that I like to dance and have fun with my teammates away from the daily routine, and that's much better without a hangover.”
While he played in Spain, Doblas spent his free time studying, but he also wrote a blog at the ACB website, “It was fun, it had a great effect. I tried to portray a different side to athletes, to tell stories and curious facts,” said David, who rescued a story he told about Andy Panko. “He broke his nose during training and when they were going to fix it he didn't want anesthesia because he was so brave that he didn't need it. ‘I'm Andy Panko,’ was his response. They fixed his nose with no anesthesia and he didn’t accept to play with a mask.” The blog entries may still be found on the web. It’s worth a visit to get to know more about the life of the Spanish center.
Doblas’ personal plan is to play, at least, until the end of 2019. Then, on a year-to-year basis, he will consider if he keeps playing. He still doesn't know until when he’ll continue his career but he does know what he’ll do until he retires: “I'm a primary school teacher, I also specialize in English and have a post-graduate title in Spanish as a Second Language, an area I think of taking up for a couple of years in a country that speaks English. Besides, I have a degree in Physical and Sports Activities. Education is what I'm looking forward to in the future and, as a matter of fact, in San Sebastián I was already an assistant to a professor for four years when I had free time from my job as a player.”
In one of his entries in the blog for the ACB website, the 6’8” player stated that his hardest rivals were not in the paint, but in the classroom, and measured around 4’6”. This was one of his first experiences in front of a class. He now analyzes that event: “Kids are a challenge. For me it's very easy to deal with them, I have a lot of empathy, I know how to get closer to them and earn their trust. But when I have to face a classroom with 25-30 kids that I want to teach and reach them all, I'm sure it will be a very complicated game in which I’ll have to give it my all. It’ll be a challenge, but it’ll be a beautiful challenge for which I have been studying and I feel like I'm ready. It’ll be harder than the Liga de las Américas Final4.”
Doblas knows how to portray his intensity within the court. And he also knows the lessons he wants to teach in the future.