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    Alba Berlin: defeated the curse (neue-deutschland.de)

    Done: Coach Aito and the Alba basketball players win the trophy.

    Photo: imago images / Camera 4

    When the final seconds of the basketball cup final passed, the direction was fixed on one man. On the big video cube under the hall roof, you could not see Alba Berlin’s most successful launcher Martin Hermannsson with 20 points, nor the playmaker Peyton Siva, who after almost four years full of injuries and bitter defeats in the Berlin jersey finally celebrated a title. The cameramen preferred to concentrate on Aíto García Reneses, the 73-year-old coach from Alba. While all his players jumped across the field in a big cluster, the Spaniard ran to the opposing coach as after every game – and without even raising the corners of his mouth – to thank them for the nice game.

    “He was looking forward to it,” assured his Spanish compatriot and Alba sports director Himar Ojeda a few minutes later. »He said› Wow! ‹To me: about the atmosphere in the hall and about the players, how they managed to win. But somehow everything like a fan, as if he had nothing to do with it. We know, of course, that that’s not true, but that’s the way it is. «

    The coach, who was only named Aíto, had given the Berliners a makeover almost three years ago, teaching them how to play fast, attractive and often successful offensive basketball. Only the coronation never wanted to succeed. Alba reached five finals under the Spaniard – but five times they went off the field in the cup, championship and European cup as losers. “We had to show that we can also win the important games so that we don’t speak of a final curse at some point,” Center Johannes Thiemann was pleased about the 89:67 victory against Baskets Oldenburg. Shortly before, he gave the obligatory Uffta-uffta-tärärä insert with the fans roaring and dancing. The fans then asked to see Aíto, but he had long since disappeared into the cabin and was waiting to give his players a speech.

    Nobody revealed what he then said, but it must have corresponded to what the Spaniard later dictated to the journalists: “I am very happy. The title is very important for Alba, the players and our fantastic fans. But the trophy is only the second most important trophy in German basketball. Now we want to win the championship too. «

    Siva, Hermannsson and Thiemann had all spoken of a great “relief” after the victory, of the “heavy stone” that finally no longer weighed on them. The public had rather associated the series of final defeats with the coach. With Aíto there was no sign of relief. For that, pressure should have been on him beforehand. However, he is much to be learned for such psychological frivolity. Anyone who has ever been to the Olympic final and has also won 20 titles in 47 coaching years can easily classify five defeats in two years.

    Aíto knows that with FC Bayern, Bamberg and Valencia he has always had more personnel and financially equipped opponents in front of his nose. »A defeat always has something to do with the opponent. Titles are not that important to me. ”Alba was a clear favorite against Oldenburg. This victory was therefore rather logical, because the Spaniard knew only too well that a title was overdue for this talented team, even if he would never say something like that out of fairness.

    With all due respect, he would have had every reason to boast of his own share. At the beginning of the third quarter, Aíto had switched to a mixture of defense in space and man, thus getting Oldenburg completely out of rhythm and running its own game. A narrow half-time gap became a 65:51 lead within ten minutes, which Alba was to easily bring over time. The offensive lover Aíto had secured the cup with defense.

    With the exception of the almost 1400 Oldenburg fans, the rest of the 14,614 spectators celebrated the long-awaited victory like a championship. »When we found out that the endgame was still playing at home, the pressure increased again. You can see how big he was at the exuberant party, ”said winger Rokas Giedraitis and took a long swig from the first beer mug. Many more should follow this evening.

    With their tenth cup win, Alba Berlin equaled record winner Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday evening. Because of the meanwhile losing streak none of the nine before it should have been celebrated so boisterously. Just not from the trainer. He still has plans.

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