Basketball is gaining ground on soccer in Tenerife. Bites. With football in eleventh place in the Second Division, the basket has conquered its space on the island. Lenovo Tenerife is fourth in the ACB behind three giants, Madrid, Barça and Baskonia, and looks like the top seed in a Cup in which this Friday (6:30 p.m., Movistar) shares with Gran Canaria the first island derby in the tournament history. “It’s a healthy rivalry, very beautiful,” explains Jaime Fernández (Madrid, 29 years old), the guard who this summer gave his career a swerve. He still relives the Eurobasket he won with the Spanish team as if it were a dream, before changing the Unicaja Málaga shirt after four seasons for Tenerife.
The European medal is kept by his mother at home, in Madrid. “She deserves to have it,” says Jaime, starter in that surprising gold team and author of 13 points in the final against France. “Little by little I am giving value to that Eurobasket. Just today I hardly believe it. With the players that were on other teams, who can mark an era in the NBA, and we, a group of 12 friends, won. We support each other, we create a precious bond. For me it was not even a dream. I couldn’t even imagine it.”
From Málaga to Berlin and from Berlin to Tenerife, Jaime Fernández continued on the island the journey that he began in Estudiantes, made a stopover in Andorra and disembarked in Andalusia. “I decided to change because my cycle at Unicaja had ended. From the club they also had certain doubts about whether he should continue or not. I wanted to be in a club that trusted and believed in me. txus [Vidorreta, el entrenador del Tenerife] He made me want to count on me and I have discovered a club that grows every year. It is a perfect place for me. I wanted to be in the fight for the titles, win more than lose. I have succeeded”. Lenovo rubs shoulders with the greats, it is the team with the best percentage in free throws in the League (79.02%) and veterans like Marcelinho Huertas (39 years old, fourth highest assist in the ACB with an average of 5.3 passes) and Shermadini (33 years old, sixth leading scorer with 14.1 points) drive an ambitious group.
“Each season the club takes one more step. He has an ascending line and that’s why good players come. It is a special team, with people with experience and in good physical condition. We enjoy on the track and we always have a full arena”, says Fernández, who has an average of 11.2 points and 2.6 assists this season. “From Malaga to Tenerife it is very different. I am in a smaller, more familiar and close club. Here the character, the rhythm of life, is another. I am also calm, I live my life very relaxed, and it adapts well, ”he continues.
Vidorreta’s blackboard rules. “Tactically he is very demanding, in attack and defense. He needs players who have that ability to retain the entire catalog of plays that we have, that wealth. Within that arsenal of plays, he gets the best out of each one without leaving the scheme. He has it all figured out. And let us enjoy on the track. We have a seal of identity”, analyzes Fernández.
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