He played a Playoffs as a player with Ford Burgos in 2012 and knows really well what it is to fight for promotion with HLA Alicante, but never before in his career has Alberto Antuña had to experience a final phase 2,600km from home. Because, immersed in the preparation of the Eurobasket of Spain with the Montenegro National Team, Pedro Rivero’s assistant coach continues to work for the Alicante team from a distance.


He is not yet 30 years old, but in his already extensive basketball career, Alberto Antuña has been through situations of all kinds. Since playing a final of the Princess Cup with the Ford Burgos having to travel a day after the expedition for academic reasons, to sign a promotion to the LEB Gold League and a title of LEB Silver Cup as an assistant to a coach who, just a few months before, played for him.

Situations that have been overcome in recent weeks with his incorporation as assistant coach of Jelena skerovic in a Montenegro national team with which he already prepares Eurobasket Women to be held in Spain.

Because his departure to the Balkan country has only physically alienated him from Playoffs for promotion of those who is still very aware in his day by day having maintained his commitment to the Alicante team despite the distance.

A situation agreed with both Pedro Rivero as with the main managers of the club and that has allowed this Murcian coach to lead a double life in which he makes the preparation of the semifinal of the HLA Alicante before him Breogán River with the Eurobasket. An appointment in which you will have players such as the MVP of LF Endesa at your command Markeisha gatling, the “Riojan” Bojana Kovacevic or one Kristina rakovic who fought for promotion with Barça CBS.

Undoubtedly a curious story that Antuña himself tells us from the concentration of the Montenegrin team.

Antuña: “The club understood that it is one of those opportunities that you cannot miss”

From the heart of Montenegro where he arrived a few weeks ago to start the Eurobasket challenge, Alberto Antuña is following the Playoffs very “closely” these days for promotion. A qualifying round that will begin this Wednesday and that will live at 2,600 km. of what has been his home for the last four seasons.

Alberto, how did an assistant from LEB Oro get the chance to play a Eurobasket?

“Well, it all came up last March. At that time, things were going really well with HLA Alicante because the team had achieved the initial goal of permanence and we were about to get into the Promotion Phase. Those days I received a call in which they sent me an offer that represented a unique opportunity since they were looking for that profile that I was developing in Alicante as a physical trainer and assistant coach. The only doubt came about the dates of incorporation since they wanted to start the preparation of the Eurobasket in mid-May and this was going to overlap with the LEB Gold League Playoffs ”.

And then how do you get around a barrier like that?

“Mainly, based on trust, because the first person I mentioned it with was Pedro Rivero. We have been working together for three years and he has always given me the necessary peace of mind to be able to analyze any type of situation together. I asked him what was going through my head, but always keeping in mind that my decision was going to be adjusted to what he might think. At that time he explained to me that he saw it as a unique opportunity since you never know when you will be able to play a Eurobasket and that, therefore, there would be no problem on your part ”.

Is that where the possibility of continuing to work for the team arises despite the distance?

“Yes, because after talking to Pedro the next step was to expose the situation to Vice President Daniel Adriasola and President Tony Gallego who understood the situation perfectly, making everything easy. At that time the Playoffs were not a safe value while the Eurobasket was going to be a reality so, between them, they helped me to have the door open to continue helping the team from a distance and to the best of my ability. possibilities”.

It should not be an easy task to have to prepare the scoting of a team 2,600 kilometers from the training hall …

“Well, if I’m honest, it’s being much easier than I could have imagined myself. In the end, Pedro Rivero, Alberto Carrillo and I have been working together for three years and that makes us know each other perfectly. We usually start the week with a video call in which we share what ideas they have about the game plan and what things I have been seeing in the previous one that may be useful to us and, from there, each one of us begins to work on our plot. I prepare the individual scouting, I send it to the team on Sunday night together with the planning for the week and little by little we are working on it ”.

Doesn’t distance make everything a little more complicated?

“For some things, yes, but today there are many barriers that you can overcome thanks to technology. However, we have realized that there is something very positive since, not being able to be with the team during the week, I do not have that hot vision that generates post-match tension, but I can carry out a much cooler analysis. This enriches the soutings in some way and allows you to perceive some details that may perhaps escape when you are inside ”.

And all this, in parallel to the training sessions with Montenegro … How is the Eurobasket preparation going?

“Well, at the moment, very positive. We have been working for a few weeks now and the team is acquiring the concepts well. It is being very easy to work with them since I feel great confidence on the part of the coach Jelena Skerovic and since there are players like Markeisha Gatling, Bojana Kovacevic or Kristina Rakovic who know our basketball very well and with whom it is really easy to be able to work. In a few days we will be in Spain and, personally, I will do so with the desire of being able to fully enjoy an experience as unique as being able to play a Eurobasket a few kilometers from home ”.

But always with an eye on the Playoffs due to the rise of the LEB Oro League …

“Without a doubt, because the team has earned the chance to be in the semifinals and we are all enjoying it a lot. There is a lot of work behind all this and, in my case, the satisfaction of knowing that, after four seasons, all our efforts have paid off as we wanted. Now we are facing a tie against Río Breogán that will not be easy, but neither was the previous one against TAU ??Castelló, so we must be very confident in the possibilities of this team ”.

The “virtual cava” will then have to be prepared in case the promotion had to be celebrated in front of the computer …

“Well, have no doubt that we would find a way to celebrate it. First in the distance and, a few days later, trying to escape from Valencia to Alicante when we arrive with Montenegro to try to celebrate it even with Pedro and the rest of the coaching staff. Such an occasion would be well deserved ”.

Sports career
– Alberto Antuña:

Training: CB Ferrol (Junior Male)
2016/17: CREF Hola (LF Endesa) – Assistant Coach
2017/19: HLA Alicante (LEB Silver) – Assistant Coach
2019/20: HLA Alicante (LEB Gold) – Assistant Coach
2020/21: HLA Alicante (LEB Gold) – Assistant Coach
2020/21: Montenegro National Team – Assistant Coach

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