It will be three months on Sunday Albert Sabat announced his retirement as a professional basketball player at the age of 37, but lately he has been reliving his farewell often. Básquet Girona gave him one tribute before the ACB debut against Real Madrid (88-94) taking advantage of the fact that Fontajau was packed to the brim and could take the well-deserved applause from the fans. Since that same day, he has also worn Llagostera’s number 3 shirt in the pavilion alongside legends Darryl Middleton, Jordana, Carbó, Toni Espinosa and now Laia Palau. The accolades don’t end there. And it is that this one he will return to the Obradoiro track on Saturday, where he had his last experience on the court in the ACB before making history in Girona in LEB Plata, LEB Or and gaining promotion to the ACB. It will do so, however, as a member of thestaff technician of Aíto García Reneses.
«The moment I don’t miss basketball from inside the courts. I am lucky to continue to be linked to it in another way and I am very happy with how things are going for me”, explains Sàbat. The ex-player assures that in this new stage he is “learning from the first day”: “Aíto, Lubos, Miki and all the team matesstaff they are helping me a lot. This is new for me.” In addition, he details what his role is as an assistant coach: “We do everything that Aíto asks us: scouting, post-match, some things from training… Whatever he needs”.
Sàbat and Aíto are 38 years apart. The Lagosterian confesses that “I would never have imagined training with him, I think I am lucky to be able to learn by his side». “What impressed me the most was the passion and enthusiasm he has for coming every day and continuing to train, but above all for improve the small details despite all the game knowledge he accumulates. It’s a pleasure to work next to him”, he says. About the coach, he adds that “he insists a lot on the small details, not so much in the system, but to know and read the game at every moment”.
On Saturday, he will return to the Obradoiro track, where he had the last experience in the ACB as a player (2017-19). “I didn’t think I would go back. It’s special because I was very comfortable there, but when I left it was clear that I wanted to come to Girona to finish my degree“, he says. Sàbat, who took Girona from the mud in LEB Plata to heaven with promotion to the ACB, has not been able to debut in the highest category with the shirt that now hangs in Fontajau, but he assures that he does not keep ” no spinet”. “I was lucky enough to make my debut there when I was 17 years old with Casademont. Then I did a few laps, returned with Sant Josep to LEB Or and left again to finally finish my career in Girona. Girona Basketball gave me the opportunity and I was very lucky to live my last three years as a player in Fontajau. I was very clear that the best thing was to step aside because I didn’t look completely ready,” he explains.
One of the most emotional images left by the debut at the ACB was that of the tribute to Sàbat, in which he was seen with glassy eyes. “I didn’t expect it. I knew the club was up to something for me though I didn’t imagine all that. I thought they would make me a short video and in the end it was a bunch of stuff. It was a pass. I am very happy and grateful to the club”, he says. The ex-player says that “it is a pride to be next to the legends of Girona basketball”. “As a child I had met Toni and Darryl, I had seen Laia many times on TV and then here in Fontajau… For me it is a pride to be by his side in Fontajau».
At the same time, thank you Marc Gasol’s effort to make all this possible: Sàbat has retired leaving Girona basketball at the highest peak and the city is once again enjoying the elite in Fontajau. “It’s a pass. The club has not stopped growing since he founded it», he concludes.
Aíto: “Sábat was an intelligent player and now he is an intelligent coach”
The good harmony that exists in the technical staff of Aíto García Reneses is reciprocal. The coach spoke today about Albert Sàbat’s adaptation to the bench. “He does it very well. He is a very intelligent ex-player and is now applying it to being a coach. I am very happy because it is going in a very good way”, he said.
Regarding the match against Obradoiro and the need to get the first victory, Aíto explained that “we must try to keep playing with concentration and intensity”. “Obradoiro is a stabilized team in the ACB, always with Moncho Fernández as coach. It’s interesting what he does every season, trying to stay or fight for the top places”, he added.