Chronicle of two cities shaped by the same passion | where the emotion plays | The USA Print

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Training just finished. A man comes down from the stands onto the parquet. He carries two small boxes in his hands. He asks permission and, with them, approaches Džanan Musa and Sergi Quintela. They are a gift: “My brother-in-law makes them. I asked him to sculpt these for you.” He has carved the effigies of both players in miniature and covered them with a glass dome. They are used to the continuous displays of affection from the fans and, even so, Musa and Quintela’s surprise is capitalized. This season, most of the players in the Breogan They live in the center of the city, close to each other, and deal daily with the neighbors of Lugo in the bakery, the supermarket, the bar…

Amazed, Musa picks up the miniature that a fan gives him.  |  Oscar Corral

The Quintela brothers they play a role off the pitch: they are the transmission belt that makes it understandable what Lugo means your Breogan.

—Our natural place is the stands. We left there ten years ago and we will return there in another ten. In the meantime, we have the privilege of being able to do what any of the thousands who cheer would want to do: defend their city wearing this jersey on the pitch.

Sergi Quintela (left) and Erik Quintela (right) at the Pazo dos Deportes in Lugo.  |  Oscar Corral

Erik and Sergio they talk. They remember how his father, who does not know much about basketball (“if he caught a ball, he would shoot it”, they say), took them to the Pazo as children, as his father did with him before: continuing the ritual. They recall how, as children, they played on the red track, attached to the pavilion, and the overflowing emotion they felt in the days when their team could train on the same parquet where Breogán played; evoke the indelible impression left on them by seeing on that track Charlie Bell in 2005, star who, of Lugohe would sign directly for the NBA (“every day was a party, he hit triples from everywhere, we were thinking: what madness is he going to delight us with today?”). In Lugo, basketball has been forging families for decades: Half of the team’s coaching staff is from Lugo: Paul Duartephysiotherapist; Quique Fragaassistant coach…

For Musa, the MVP of the competition —a third of Lugo had to vote for his appointment, based on the testimonies— the feeling fits in a concise and enormous phrase: “Here I have found a home”. Musa, a precocious genius of this sport, came from years plagued by setbacks, in the Brooklyn Nets (NBA) and in the newly proclaimed —for the second year in a row— Euroleague champion Anadolu Efes (Turkey). And, as a result of the affection of colleagues and neighbors, he confesses, his career was resurrected: “I have exchanged messages with Charlie Bell, because what happened to him has happened to me again. This place is amazing. And, for me, it is an honor to have led these people.”

Džanan Musa, who averaged 20.1 points per game, was chosen as the best player in the Endesa League this season.

Another of the great favorites for the award was, precisely, the Baxi Manresa power forward Chima Moneke, chosen in the best quintet.

Monica Castile He played for Pryca Manresa, a women’s team that competed in the first division. “In Manresa, in schools we played basketball and anyone’s aspiration was the first team. It’s in the DNA.” her husband, Joan Penarroyatoday one of the most promising coaches in our basketball, was one of the stars of that TDK Manresa nineties champion Your son Markyouth squad of the today baptized Baxi Manresa, debuted in the ACB 31 years after his father did. Father, mother and son symbolize the symbiosis with basketball that is breathed in the region. It is a social ceremony. “The children begin to become independent when they start going to the pavilion with their friends. I did it and my children did it later”, he explains. Castilewho says that, for days before, they usually say goodbye to each other with the motto: “See you at the game on Sunday.”

A Joseph Sorinas no one calls him by his name. It’s Manuel. For all. His bar has been, for 35 years, the headquarters of supporters clubs —the first to organize trips to escort the team when it was playing away— and even a dining room for the players in the training categories who received support scholarships from Manresa. “From behind this bar I spent my days listening to them: their problems, their difficulties… they ate and dined here and, at the same time, were a focus for a retinue of basketball enthusiasts, who came to Cal Manuel because they were there… The pity is that at that time I didn’t have a cell phone, and I hardly have any photos”, he laments sorines, which lists some of the many players with whom he has continued to have a relationship, such as Sergio Llull or Serge Ibaka. “There is a family from Manresa who are almost like the adoptive parents from Ibaka. He celebrated his 18th birthday here, at the bar, with them and with a friend like Álex Llorca [también jugador]. After winning the NBA ring with the Toronto Raptors, he came over here to say hi to me.”

Josep Sorinas, known to all as Manel, behind the bar that opened in 1987 and is a meeting point for players and fans in Manresa.  |  Tony Ferragut

Account that another great, Roger Esteller, Sant’s tiger, who ended up in Manresa after having passed through Barcelona, ​​confessed to him: “There, I left the station with my headphones on, I changed in the locker room with the headphones, and I finished training and walked again listening to music and hardly saying a word. with nobody. Whom ManresaIt’s different, we really live together”.

Lugo Y Manresa, two cities that would truly be different (and probably worse) without their basketball teams; two clubs that, for those who play and for those who don’t, are a place of belonging. A family.

In the municipality of Lugo there are 938 licenses for boys and girls between the ages of five and 17 who practice federated basketball (according to data from the Galician Basketball Federation).

In the municipality of Manresa there are 696 (according to data from the Catalan Basketball Federation).

In both cities, it is estimated that one of every ten Boys and girls under 18 years of age play with a card in federated basketball leagues.

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