Spain, China, Russia, the Women’s National Team or Japan. Lucas Mondelo has managed to turn teams into winning projects in each of his professional adventures. The last one started in the summer of 2019 with the Toyota Antelopes, a Japanese league team, with clear challenges: “The idea was to do a job of creating their own style, merging European basketball with Japanese, at the same time to improve the level of their players and the team. And we are fulfilling the planned plan step by step. “
After the atypical 19/20 season, in the current one the Antelopes have already managed to reach the Cup final and this week they have been proclaimed champions of the Regular League of the Western division. An achievement that is rewarded directly to the league semifinals, which confirms Lucas Mondelo’s roadmap in Japan: “The real objective was to improve the team in the first year working in that own style; be in finals and fight for titles in the second year; and get one of the two competitions up for grabs in Japan in the third year. “
At the moment, in this second year objectives are being met. “We are happy to have played the final of the Empress Cup and the results of the Regular League. But we want more and we are going to fight for the title. To be in the final would be to complete a good season, but once you are in the finals it is an obligation to try to win them. It’s difficult to get there and you don’t know when you’ll be there again “ says the women’s coach.
What Lucas Mondelo has is a category rival. Eneos Sunflowers is the great dominator of Japanese basketball, winning the league title since the 2010/11 season. The Spanish coach is already used to it, who ‘suffered’ the great UMMC Ekaterimburg in his time with the Dynamo de Kursk, or the best Ros Casares as a coach of Perfumerías Avenida: “We have the thorn in the Cup final, where we dominated the game for many minutes. We are already very close to them and, if we meet them in the League final, it will be a good incentive for us. “
Lucas Mondelo gives us a few hints of the secret of his success. As has repeated several times “At the basketball level, the first premise is to attack from defense. At the management level, it is to instill the conceptual idea of ??’I at the service of us’ as a team spirit ”. From there, the next concept that appears is that of adaptation: “The four years in China have helped me adapt more quickly. I want to keep all the good things that Japanese women’s basketball has: that open game, in which everyone shoots, constant changes … a very fast basketball with a lot of intensity “ but adapt it to the virtues of Spanish basketball: “The good choice of decisions, game reading, defensive traps … The idea is to merge the two basketballs and we are succeeding.”
Another key is self-demand: “Turning teams into winning projects is what I have been doing for 15 years on different continents. I feel comfortable in this situation. The results may be better or worse, but I am comfortable with these ambitious goals. Of course, adapting to the teams and where I am. There is a method, but also nuances depending on the occasion. “
Japanese culture is not strange to Lucas Mondelo, so he assures that “The experience has been very positive at all levels. On a personal level it is very good and on a professional level it is a brutal experience because of the means they put on you and because of the respect they have for the figure of the coach / teacher. Besides, since everything is going well, you enjoy it more. “
And he ends up pointing out one last thought: “Japanese women’s basketball has a very high level. They have been gold for several Asian Championships, ahead of teams like Australia and China. For me it is one of the eight teams with a medal option at the Tokyo Games ”. Word of Lucas Mondelo.