03 October, 2017
14 December
Lucas Victoriano (ARG)
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Victoriano: “We still have space to improve”

BAHIA (DIRECTV Liga Sudamericana) – Following a day one setback, Estudiantes Concordia took it to the next level and qualified to the Semi-Final Phase of the DIRECTV Liga Sudamericana with two straight wins against Universo/Vitoria and Malvin.

Head Coach Lucas Victoriano spoke with FIBA.basketball after the team’s qualification.

What is your analysis on Estudiantes in this Sudamericana’s start?
The truth is that this was a very serious tournament. Above all, we had to defend intensely because we're a new team, we're just recently building. We're a new team with many new players, and the truth is that we had a great tournament. We played the match until the last minute. I'm proud. I’m truly proud of the group because we've managed to be a team on such a short amount of time.

A team that, apart from Rigoberto Mendoza —who has had several international participations— doesn't have high-profile players. What makes Estudiantes a team with the level needed to qualify for the Final?
I think it's the guys’ drive. We tried to build a large team with ten or eleven players that go onto the court and all of them contribute, they all add to the game. They're also finding their place and role, and the truth is that like Rigoberto was saying today, he played very well in this tournament, he took them enthusiastically by the hand; but it was hard to compete against Malvin, Guaros and Bahia with no defensive work. We could do it with the defensive work of the whole team. The truth is that, they work on that every day and we still have space to improve, obviously.

How does your team benefit of having a coach like you, with ample international experience?
I don’t know what the difference would be between a traditional coach and a former player. I'm sure there is and surely there are things that one, as a former player, must learn. But I think that my relationship with them is very natural, very close. I was a player until very recently, so I know the feelings they surely are going through. I try to encourage them, help them. I believe that the source of every group is a good relationship and respect. In that sense, I respect everything because they train everyday and in that sense, I don't care about last names, because each day they come to train like the best of them.

What's your opinion on this competition?
Tranquil, but hard. Very hard. Bahia and Guaros will play a game tonight and that luckily, we're over that. We're already qualified, but the match is very much on the same level. Malvin is a great team. They weren't lucky, they didn't have the possibility of winning, but in the three games they competed like the great team that they are. Guaros will define today who will join the other one in the group.

What will happen from this point on until the Semi-Final Phase? What adjustments will Estudiantes make?
Well, we don't know yet. We're also on our own national competition. The Super 20 started, and then the League begins... We’ll surely see if we can improve some things and, if we can do so, great; but the most important thing is to keep the game’s base and idea with drive, with defense, but at the end we’ll be able to compete in many games.