Unicaja | Alfonso, father and teacher of our basketball

Alfonso Queipo de Llano, during a recent interview with SUR that took place at his home. / FRANCIS SILVA

Founder of the ACB, his work at CD Málaga and CD El Palo together with his association with Paco Moreno to create Caja de Ronda, decisive factors in today’s reality

José María Martin Urbano

That child who in the middle of the last century, in the courtyard of the Colegio de San Agustín, played making a basket with a knotted bib in the shape of a ball, receives today, from Unicaja and its fans, the most just and deserved tribute that can be imagined at half-time of the match against Russian Nizhny Novgorov. Alfonso Queipo de Llano is, without a doubt, the most important character in the history of basketball in Malaga. Awarded with high distinctions from the Spanish Basketball Federation and the ACB, the Quijote de Plata from the Ferrándiz Foundation and the Raimundo Saporta Award from the Spanish Association of Basketball Coaches, he was the head of the Malaga headquarters of the 1986 World Cup. man who selflessly gave up his club for the foundation of Caja de Ronda and holder of an endless succession of prizes awarded by the media and institutions.

To understand the evolution of Malaga basketball in the last 60 years – from that colonnaded courtyard of the Augustinian school to the modern Martín Carpena Sports Palace, passing through the field of the Tobacco Factory, the Marist School, the old field of La Rosaleda, the El Palo court, the old Carranque pavilion, the Guadaljaire Sports Center, the Pichón Shooting Pavilion and the historic Ciudad Jardín – all you have to do is know the exciting biography of Alfonso Queipo de Llano: a life united to basketball . It is the living history of our sport, which finally found its peak in Alfonso’s association with Paco Moreno, leader of the Caja de Ahorros de Ronda and creator of the SD Caja de Ronda, which allowed the transit of our minority sport basketball an essential fact of the life of Malaga. I remember the day that Paco, encouraged to link the Savings Bank with sports, asked me what we could offer him. I felt very comfortable and optimistic with the answer that I was able to give him: I offered him nothing more and nothing less than the great work of Alfonso. When I listed the teams and achievements achieved thanks to that generous and enthusiastic protection, there was no doubt, there was no better place to look. That day the Caja de Ronda was born.

I met Alfonso as a player for Ademar Maristas. It was not one more. He was, despite not having turned 25, the veteran busy protecting his young companions (Corrales, Meliveo, Rabaneda, Espejo, Bravo, Palomo …), all dazzling promises. Later, he went with Bonilla and his young companions, led by the great Manolo Jato, to CD Málaga, which was joined by Cabrera –whose recent death we have lamented so much–, Jacinto, Otto, Guachi, Llorca, Evaristo, Oliver and others, forming a legendary team. The Martiricos club required a person responsible for basketball to join its board of directors. As you can imagine, it had to be Alfonso, only twenty-six years old and at the beginning of his professional life, who took that step by becoming a player and manager, already forced to make important financial commitments derived from football, as was customary at that time.

«I offered Paco Moreno the great work of Alfonso. That day the Caja de Ronda was born »

When Manolo Jato, the first professional coach in Malaga and a brilliant promoter of that great team, left, he alternated the position of coach with Bonilla, another of the greats of our sport. Thus was born the essential factotum Alfonso of our basketball for more than thirty years.

When the team left La Rosaleda and lost the protective umbrella of the soccer club, Alfonso, in collaboration with Pepe Paterna, president of the Malagueña Federation, founded the basketball section of the El Palo Sports Center and promoted the construction of a covered court, twin sister of La Rosaleda, what things are, next to another soccer field! There he counted on the collaboration of technicians such as Jaime Porras or Antonio Guadamuro and ended up making that team, in just five years, the best in Madrid downwards, to compete in the second national category. Who is going to receive the tribute tonight was not only the coach but also the only financial support of that team. At that time he was already one of the best coaches in Spain, a member of the Technical Committee of the Spanish Federation and teacher of a group of young coaches who learned everything from him, among whom José Manuel Romero was beginning to stand out.

When the Caja de Ahorros de Ronda appeared, he held the position of coach for the first three seasons, he continued to collaborate, at first, in the maintenance of the team and, later, he was sports director, manager and essential soul of a club that relied on his prestige , relationships and experience to continue growing. He led the great jump from Third to First Division in just four years, fruit of the understanding between him and Paco. They were fifteen years acting as a sports compass for a club that he left, already consolidated in the highest category and after appearing in European competitions. At that time he became one of the founders of the ACB and for years he has commented on the news of Unicaja in the Cope microphones, in which the fans await him, not only for his arsenal of technical knowledge, but also for his great sympathy.

He is a man endowed with abundant virtues that make him a person of reference in the broadest social circles, the center of attention in any meeting and with the indisputable quality of a leader.

A separate chapter deserves his admirable family, who always accompanied him in all his concerns. Magdalena, his wife, a friend of all, is a unique woman capable of even surpassing a man as difficult to match as her husband. For another moment it remains to gloss the adventures of Alfonso in flamenco, rowing or verdiales. That will be up to another. I close this comment by expressing my pride and gratitude to this unique man, for his friendship and for everything he taught me. Also to Antonio López Nieto, for his determined effort to give this club the soul that it has almost always lacked.




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