Joaquín Prado (1976) from Oviedo has spent a lifetime glued to a basket. He is the current sports director of Lleida, in LEB Oro, and in this interview he analyzes the situation of Oviedo Baloncesto, which needs income to be able to compete in the category. Prado, who is the Spain under-20 coach, is optimistic and says that the team from Oviedo is an example.
-From a distance, what do you think of the situation of Oviedo Baloncesto?
-It’s unfortunate, because Oviedo Basketball is a club that has done things very well and institutionally has given an image of seriousness. Unfortunately, it is difficult for him to have the financial support that he has been deserving for years.
– What is discussed in the world?
-Not much, I am informed by the people of Asturias and my Asturian basketball friends. People are worried because there is a big risk. On the one hand, going out to compete with few guarantees, and on the other, not even making it to LEB Gold, which would be something terrible.
– Are you optimistic?
Yes, I want to believe that there will be a solution. But the question is where do we put the line. If it is to go up to the ACB, it is very complicated. The OCB has had two excellent seasons, playing very well and having good results. It worries me that Oviedo’s seasons are seen as something normal, when they have been exceptional, with immense value, being ahead of teams that surpass them in resources. Next season, in which we hope Oviedo Baloncesto will be, will be very demanding and if people think that promotion is a possibility. That is why I repeat that I do not understand how in places like Oviedo what is extraordinary can be seen as normal. I hear people say that they lost to Palencia 3-0. It’s true, but what they ignore is that Palencia has a macro team.
-How do they do in Lleida to find sponsorships?
-I think that in addition to firm support from the institutions, especially from the City Council, there is also firm business support. We have had a first sponsor for several years, with the idea of growing with the club. To this we must add an important social mass: in the last play-off game we had almost six thousand people. That in Oviedo is impossible, basically because they don’t fit. In any case, at Lleida we have one of the lowest budgets, but we are imaginative in the preparation of the squad.
–Are there few companies that bet on basketball?
-There are, there are companies that bet and decidedly. I don’t know if in Asturias it is more or less easy. I experienced the difficulty of Gijón Basketball when I was a coach and a project with a very important social mass died. I do not know the business reality of Asturias to value it, but it is what I experienced.
– Is there a risk that players from the current OCB squad opt for an exit due to the insecurity of competing?
-It will depend a bit on each personal situation, but I don’t think there will be any stampede. I have the impression that Fernando Villabella, Héctor Galán and the entire board will be focused on solving the problem. Market issues do not touch now, neither in one part nor in another. If the problem is resolved, I am sure that the OCB will form a good squad.