What do Paco Olmos and Ricky Martin have in common?

Paco Olmos, coach of Valencia Basket’s debut in the highest continental competition. / Roberto Milan

The Valencian has returned to Spain after nine years working in Mexico and Puerto Rico, where he led the national team at the 2014 World Cup.

The story of Paco Olmos has very curious twists and turns. Trained as a coach at the Pamesa quarry, where he won two historic medals with the junior at the Spanish Championships, he is still the only coach who has sat on the local Fonteta bench in two stages and almost two decades after he took The reins of Pamesa has returned to the ACB after nine years of sports exile on the other side of the Atlantic and continues to be the only coach on the ground in the Endesa League.

“It may be because high-level professional basketball in Valencia has not been around for as many years as in other regions. The old one was that of the schools or the towns. I started in San Pedro Pascual. I can not find an explanation today but it is something curious “, is sincere. On Sunday he set foot on the Fonteta 3,627 days after the last time. He was moved by the affection shown by a hobby that has not erased him from his mind. The flag of the 2003 ULEB Cup will continue to remind us, until someone manages to match it, that he is still the only Valencian coach to make the Juan Roig entity champion.

His second dismissal at Pamesa, in January 2012, came at a bad time. With a professional sport in recession due to the economic crisis, the option of Puerto Rico was opened. His particular exodus started blessed by Ricky Martin. The owner of the Cangrejeros de Santurce, the first club that signed him when he left Spain, was Angelo Medina, one of the most important musical representatives in the world, where Romeo Santos or the members of Maná will attend their matches.

A few months ago, Bad Bunny joined the club as a co-owner and with the dream of finding the formula to fit into a future expansion of the NBA since the Caribbean territory is associated with the United States. «There I met my current wife and the people are good. I have good friends there and now a part of the family, with what I consider to be part of Puerto Rico »acknowledges Olmos. His parents continue to live in L’Eliana and, like the rest of the family, they were unable to travel to San Juan for a wedding that was canceled when Paco stayed with his now-wife confined to the island by the pandemic.

For several years, Olmos combined his work on the island where he came to play the 2014 World Cup as Puerto Rico coach, with the Mexican adventure, where he managed to make the team three times champion in Fuerza Regia (2016-2021). Monterrey: «What struck me the most about Mexico are the differences in social class.

If in Spain we complain that the middle class has disappeared, there it does not exist directly and that makes many people suffer. All this generates insecurity and violence. I had no bad experiences, although the apartments had triple security. In Mexico City, people who can afford it travel by helicopter. My memory of Monterrey is very good, with many friends in a club ».

The hardest part of his sporting exile that lasted almost a decade, a unique case among the coaches of the ACB national wheel, was the moment in which he had to understand that his children should continue their training in Valencia: «A day in which, as Pedro Martínez told me, your children can no longer be part of the suitcase. They reach an age, in adolescence, where you cannot move them like when they were children. It is a part of being a coach that is either not known or not valued. The worst thing is the physical distance with your children, parents or siblings. It is what becomes complicated. The idea of ​​going back to Spain is to come to stay ».

As happened at the time to the teacher Miki Vukovic, who when he left Pamesa no longer trained (in his almost neither in the ACB nor anywhere), over the years many people in Spanish basketball wondered the reasons for the ‘Olmos case’, which still did not receive offers from his country. The Valencian confesses that it never worried him, that he only wanted to enjoy a job that is a passion: «What remains for me is the experience of having helped to create sports structures. I found myself a less professional basketball than in Spain, with a lot of talent and little team play, and I tried to leave a philosophy behind. I never had frustration when the years went by and no offers came from the ACB. I felt respected and happy.



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