June 30, 2013 was not another day in the history of Urunday Universitario. That winter night, Héctor Da Prá led the scholar for the first time, on the Sayago court, defeating Welcome 61-56 on the 14th date of the Metropolitan tournament. Seven years and five months later, already consolidated as a Uruguayan League team, the green of Joaquín Suárez street gave a historic blow in the contest: he eliminated Malvín in the quarterfinals with an unappealable 3 to 0.

“A few years ago, the president of the club (Osvaldo Dohir) told me that he had kept the key to the club in a drawer. The night we beat Malvín he called me, excited, and told me that the key had been lost “, Da Prá told Referee.

Urunday Universitario reached the playoffs, after an eight-month stoppage due to the coronavirus pandemic, as number 8. For that reason he collided with number 1, Malvín, who was the vice-champion of the last League and the top winner of the competition with five titles.
“If I was in the position of Malvín or Olimpia, I would also have preferred to play against Urunday because nobody could think that we could sweep them away, being they so powerful; but sport has these quirks, sometimes the pretty ones play and sometimes the ugly ones, today we have the pretty ones ”, expressed the DT.

In addition to being the 8th, Urunday arrived with one less national token because Mauro Zubiaurre had emigrated to Pinheiros from Brazil and could not replace him because he had already used a replacement token when Facundo Medina had an ankle surgery being temporarily replaced by his brother Octavio Medina.

Facundo Medina, the sniper

Nor could he count on the same foreigners he had at the time of the suspension of the contest: Shaquille Johnson, Tyrone Lee and Andrew Feeley.

“We are a club with many members, but the club as such must provide a service and as we were closed in the pandemic, many members were erased. It was a very strong blow for the institution ”, explained the secretary of Urunday Universitario, Nelson Silva.

Patrick Bacon, his first international experience

For that reason, they hired two young foreigners who are making their first international experience, Patrick Bacon and Jack Rauch, and also Corbin Jackson, who played El Metro 2019 in Unión Atlética.

Corbin Jackson attacked the Malvín greats

One of only the three foreigners from Malvín earned more than the three from Urunday combined. What’s more, the three arrived with contracts smaller than those of the national chips.

“They integrated very well, with Héctor we always try to ensure that in addition to being good players, those who come to the club are good people,” said physical trainer Álvaro Aguiar, who arrived in 2012 with coach Daniel Ciecanovvecchi.

When he resigned, after the date 13 of the Metropolitan 2013, Aguiar remained as an institutional teacher of the club and Da Prá arrived as DT.
“Héctor is passionate.” This is how Aguiar defined it. Why? Because the DT, a dentist by profession, set up a structure to revolutionize the club’s basketball.

Growth from the ground up

“Training depends purely and exclusively on me: I designate the coaches, the teachers and what is done in each situation; the good and the bad is my responsibility ”, revealed Da Prá.

The school is run by Diego Olivera and José Mackiewicz who were playing at the club when Da Prá made his landing. The physical trainer is Victoria Salsamendi. With cadets and youth is Javier Masner. The first team assistants are Mauricio González and Jaime Yusupoff.

Two years ago, there were 150 boys in training. Today there are 300. “We have A and B teams in all categories and in children we also have a C team. And we cannot recruit players from the interior for logistical reasons,” explained Da Prá.

Aguiar points out another determining factor: “With so many players the club is not getting too small; Urunday Universitario is an institution with 6,000 members. What Héctor did was change the head of the club’s player and the work they do. From childhood we train them as professionals. What is that at 12 years old? Arrive on time for training and respect the work ”.

Ignacio Morena was 12 when they arrived. Against Malvín he was a key figure. Mateo Suárez and Federico Miller also experienced a whole growth process.

Mateo Suárez, product of the quarry

It is the Da Prá process. The one that took Urunday Universitario –which in 2009 had dropped to the DTA– for the first time in its history to first (2014 Metropolitan champion), which consolidated it as a playoff team and for the second consecutive year got it into the semifinals.
“Basketball is not about winning or losing but about being happy in what you do,” Da Prá said.

“Our objective when we bet to go up was for the team to stay in the league, it was not a matter of going up to go up to go down right away. The process is consolidated,” says Silva, who has been with the club in the lead since the merger of Urunday with University in 1979.

The 8 against the 1 in reverse, seven years later

In the Uruguayan League 2012-2013, when he was coach of Unión Atlética, Da Prá had suffered the defeat of a number 8 being the number 1 of the playoffs. However, this victory against Malvín did not mean a personal “revenge” for him.

“They were totally different situations. Unión Atlética was the first of the regular phase without having a great team or being favorites. In addition, Jimmy Boston was injured and we suffered his absence. Bohemios had strengthened with Scott VanderMeer and although we started 2-0 we started I suffered a lot because I wanted Unión to reach the semis and I left with a huge pain for not having crowned a fantastic year where we beat him the three times we played with Malvín who in the end was the champion. This series against Malvín was We approached it with a lot of problems against a notoriously favorite team and the victory of 8 against 1 makes it totally different because the rival was Malvín, that is what makes the victory greater, “Da Prá explained.

“I have had a very good relationship with Pablo (López) for a long time. He was always very complimentary with me, I respect him a lot as a coach and as a person, he is always a gentleman, he never has a word too much or too little, which is a lot in Sometimes a very mean medium- The same is Chato (Horacio) Martínez whom I directed. Without a doubt it must be a very great pain, I lived it, it takes a long time to leave and the only thing I can say is that he will come out strong from this situation, “he added.

The series against Malvín

“The three games were different, the first (86-77) was even but at an opportune moment we got a difference that allowed us to manage the game. The second (93-68) was atypical because of the difference we got, but at one point We took advantage of their nervousness and played with great intensity. They also lacked Mazzarino and Santiso, two players who in addition to their technical qualities have great hearts. In the third, the game had become very difficult (they lost by 17 points) , but at the end they were very exhausted. While Mazzarino ruled the game they dominated us, but when he felt fatigue they began to weaken and we were physically very strong at the end of the game (they won 63-62) “, the DT analyzed .

Gonzalo Álvarez, huge figure in the series

There was one of the keys to the victory: the physical responses of both teams.

“We focus on drawing up a game plan based on the characteristics of our players who are young and dynamic, we plan to play with a lot of intensity in defense and a lot of possessions. Hector then gave him the tactical quota.” Aguiar added that he had worked three seasons at the Metropolitano with Da Prá.

Both the coach and the teacher and Nelson Silva believe that what was achieved “largely” exceeded their own expectations: “Those who bet on us surely changed the car,” said Aguiar.

The campaigns year by year

2013, Metropolitano, qualified for the Liguilla, lost in playoffs 2-1 with Guruyú Waston
2014, Metropolitano, champion, 20 wins and 2 losses
2015-2016, Uruguayan League, did not qualify for SuperLiga, got into playoffs for Reclassification, beat Larre Borges 3-2 and lost 3-2 in the quarterfinals against Trouville
2016-2017, League, qualified for the Super League, vice-champion of Super 4, lost 3-1 in the quarterfinals with Defensor Sporting
2017-2018, League, qualified for the Super League, lost 3-0 in the quarterfinals with Aguada
2018-2019, Liga, qualified for the Liguilla, beat Trouville 3-2 in the quarterfinals (after starting 2-0 down) and lost 3-1 with Malvín
2019-2020, Liga, did not qualify for the Liguilla, was second in the Reclassification, swept Malvín 3-0 and will play semis with Trouville.

Da Prá at the club

Da Prá has led 306 games led by Urunday Universitario with 118 wins and 94 losses.

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