Patricio Garino found what he was looking for: to return to the Argentine national team to feel like a basketball player with the desire to compete again. The forward from Mar del Plata had terminated his contract with Nanterre de France after a series of injuries: first he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and then a torn hamstring. He trained alone and prepared to have the opportunity to wear the Argentine shirt again. “I am very happy, happy to be here. My body is reacting much better than I expected despite the fact that I had not trained with a team for almost 6 months. I was preparing myself. I still have a long way to go but for me to be playing five against five and in the National Team it means a lot”, said Garino.
Garino will look to continue his progress after his extensive inactivity. This is how he analyzed his present: “I lack both physically and in the game. I was always very demanding, almost a perfectionist. I lack power, explosiveness and reaction. And in the game there are situations that I have in my head but the body does not react” .
Pato was a key player in the team that reached its peak of performance in 2019 with the gold medal at the Pan American Games in Lima and the runner-up finish at the World Cup in China. After those achievements, Argentina did not have a good performance at the Tokyo Olympics and Sergio Hernández decided to end his cycle as coach. Oveja had been the only coach that Garino had had in the national team and now he works for the first time with Che García. “Néstor asks me to be myself, to be the same as always: aggressive on defense, to run and to take open shots. The first day he was shit up to his feet. It was the first training session with the team, everyone knew it and respected me a lot. I had to win my feelings,” said the forward.
Che’s personality is already a trademark in basketball on the continent. The players of the Argentine national team are getting used to his style of work and his way of being. “The whole team is adapting very well. Several of the boys had already been in the previous windows and the rest of us are adapting to Néstor’s idea. He is a very positive coach, who motivates a lot, and with whom you really want to train, have energy and be aggressive. The work is very enjoyable. We still have a lot to understand and assimilate from his philosophy, but we are heading in a good direction and we know that it will go very well for us, “said Garino.
The third qualifying window for the 2023 World Cup offers Argentina a committed schedule: on June 30, they visit Venezuela and on July 3, to Panama. “We are at an early stage. We have been training with this new group for a few days. They are concepts of transition work, arrival and moving the ball so as not to be so static. We are also preparing the game against Venezuela in relation to the defeat of the last window, with some tweaks to try to tweak what was done in that game,” Garino explained. And he added: “What is coming is very hard. In Venezuela it is going to be a war and even more so on that field that is a cauldron. It will be very difficult, we will have to be very focused and prepared for their aggressiveness and the pressure that the public puts on. After We will think about Panama, since we have to go game by game and not skip steps”.
Garino is a player fully identified with the National Team. In fact, the best moments of his career were with the national team. And that is where he will look for his new launch pad.