28 June, 2014
06 July
Victor Lapena (ESP)
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ESP - Lapena looks forward to debut on world stage

KLATOVY (FIBA U17 World Championship for Women) – He may be a EuroLeague Women play-caller at Perfumerias Avenida and a proven gold medal winner with Spain last year at U18 level in Europe, but FIBA U17 World Championship for Women play-caller Victor Lapena is a rookie on the global stage.
Not that this overly concerns the head coach of one of the favourites to challenge the USA - it doesn't.

What matters more to Lapena is that everyone knows the responsibility of wearing the Spanish colours and the importance of understanding that their reputation counts for absolutely nothing ahead of the first tip-off.

"We should be proud and satisfied of what has occurred to date, but now everything starts from scratch," insisted Lapena who led his team to a warm-up tournament success in Taranto last weekend.

"One of the aspects that will most have an impact is in the psychological one and that's where we're really prepared.

"We have worked hard with the players through lectures and videos to understand the responsibility that comes with wearing this shirt.

"We want every game in the style of Spain - to be identified not only with our play on the court, but also off it.

"The players know they should not be swayed by a fault or an error, because our (mental) attitude is the key to fighting for medals."

Part of the mentality is also not taking anything for granted. Pitched against Brazil, Egypt and Italy, Lapena knows his team are favoured to advance as winners of Group B, but is preparing more methodically than ever.

He is acutely aware that Spain can't let their standards drop - even if he is hoping his players will peak at the right time, which is not necessarily from the outset.

"The first phase will allow us to probe the different opponents and from the first day, we will see teams from other groups as well as those of our own.

"We've just faced an Italy team that will change much from the friendly match in Taranto since they had not yet made their final cuts.

"We will be very aware of Egypt and especially Brazil, a team which they are saying features one of the best generations of recent years.

"We also arrive with a margin for improvement that will allow our players to continue to grow during the championship and to continue the work done during these past weeks of intense preparation," continued Lapena.

"Our best moment should arrive after the first crossing over (of the groups) as it will be from there that we will have to show our best level to jump right into the fight for the medals.

"Although the natural talent of this team does not rule out that it (our best level) could be even sooner."

Spain open up their Group B campaign against Italy in Klatovy.