Unai Laso | Four and a Half Finalist
After nine months out of professionalism and collecting unemployment, the Navarrese has “matured” and believes that he has won his first final
Everything has changed for Unai Laso since he returned to professional baseball last June. In September he had been left without a contract due to not reaching an agreement with his company and, together with the non-renewals of Víctor, Mariezkurrena II and Eskiroz, it was one of the causes of the strike of the Baiko pelotaris. On Sunday he will play his first Final of the Cuatro y Medio, in Bilbao. “I knew my site was in professionals,” he highlights.
What does it mean to play your first final?
– A pride in the work behind it, both physically and mentally. Of all the environment that helps you. It is a cluster of circumstances that makes you get there because you are fine.
And a vindication after everything that has happened.
– I’m not spiteful and neither do I do it for that. From the bad times I have gone through, this has come because I have earned it.
He has also worked on it, because when he was out of professionalism he could have chosen to let himself go.
– Instead of being a victim, I continued training the same way. I looked for my life to play in amateurs with the help of my father and the Huarte club. Those nine months I lived as a pelotari.
Did you ever consider dedicating yourself to something else?
– No. I have finished the higher physical-sports grade, but I knew that my place was in professionals and I continued training in the same way. Many peoples called us who wanted to organize parties with us -Mariezkurrena II, Eskiroz, Víctor and Laso- and that gives you morale because you see that there are people who care about you. Then with the strike we saw more light.
Return to amateurs
“Instead of being a victim, I continued training the same, as before”
It was an unusual event in the ball that surely gave him to think that it could be finished.
– Of course. You are in the street and it was time to go down to the ground again. I had to ask for unemployment until June … It is true that you wonder how something like this could have happened.
Mentally it was tough.
– It helped me to strengthen me. I was in misery and now you value everything much more. You enjoy it more. Apart from how bad we have been, a situation like this helps us to continue stronger.
Has that had a clear influence on your game since you returned?
– Yes. But it is more the physical work behind it, which is what I have improved the most. I have more strength in my legs, I move better and I position myself better. A part of the key is there.
And in trust?
– Too. Before it was less mature. As the years go by, it has to be noticed on the court. It is also psychological and mental work. When things turn out like me in the summer, you arrive at a championship with much more confidence.
After his return in June, he gave the feeling of being another Laso.
– It’s possible. Before, I played faster and more nervous. I saw myself capable of finishing both very quickly. Now it is seen that it is necessary to toughen the party because if not it is not won.
Have you had someone who has advised you?
– Before everything happened I went to a sports psychologist. That helps you. Everyone needs to see a professional of this type at least once in their life.
– You are comfortable, you vent. You open up, something you don’t do with many people.
But he didn’t have any anxiety about playing, either.
– No. I’ve always believed in it and it helped me.
He came from playing as amateurs at Cuatro y Medio Navarro in a duel against Peña II that he won in a tight way. Losing him could have changed everything.
– It was key to being here now. It is true that if I had not won it, because my rival had had a great year, it would be possible to understand. But I have thought that if it does go wrong … Especially in the meeting itself. Because I’ve always said that being inside is crazy because of everything you think about during it.
The head is spinning a lot.
– There are many sensations. They can’t be explained, but a lot goes through my head. Good, bad … Everything.
“He is the best because in the key moments of the duels you leave him some option and he nails it”
Did you watch Altuna III’s semi-final match?
– Nice to see you. He played a lot. I was at home almost clapping. Ezkurdia played well, but Altuna III did not let him. It does almost everything perfect.
In the three games you played against Amezketa in the summer, when have you been able to beat him?
– In all. But what Altuna III has, and that is why it is the best, is that at key moments you leave it some option and it nails it.
It gives the feeling that you are never afraid on the court.
– Is it that if you are afraid to play, how do you intend to win? I’m going to do my job well. Fear should never be.
Always on the attack.
– I have learned that you also have to have very good defense. Harden both and patience. Playing against the best is where you grow.
Does Altuna III have any defects?
– It is very difficult to find one. But I have been close to beating him in several games and I think this time I can do it.
In Biskarreta-Gerendiain (Navarra) for 24 years. He plays as a forward in the Baiko company.
He played his first professional match at the Labrit fronton in Pamplona five years ago.
The one on Sunday at the Bizkaia fronton within the Cuatro y Medio is the first final in his career.