Laia Palaucompleted this Thursday in the victory of Spain against Nigeria (61-52) a milestone never seen in the history of our basketball (women’s and men’s): reaching the 300 caps. A feat that serves to highlight the key role of the captain in the successes achieved by the National Team over the last two decades.
“She entered the twelve-player squad unexpectedly. I remember that they put me with Amaya Valdemoro in the room “, recalls Palau about his first championship at the 2002 World Cup in China in a FEB report in which he reviews his international career:” I don’t think I have 300 caps with the National Team because this It does not help me to train nor does it make me better. I just have to do it the same ”.
“I have very much in mind the moment in which I got my first medal (the bronze in the EuroBasket 2003) which, in addition, gave us the pass to Athens 2004. The arrival at the ceremony of those Games is an indelible moment”, continues the base .
“In 2013, with the start of the Lucas era, there was a significant generational change. The gold of that EuroBasket in France was the first time that Spain said yes, it could be up ”, he analyzes.
Since 2013, Spain has not been off the podium in the seven major championships played. Among them is the first Olympic podium in the history of the Women: “The silver of the Rio 2016 Games will always remain as a maximum milestone. In addition, that basket of Anna Cruz ended up giving him all the epic possible. That basket will remain in our memory forever ”. However, he is very clear that each tournament has played a relevant role in building this formidable path for our basketball, his own: “All the championships have meant something different in our history. They have all meant something. I can’t just say that I keep the Rio medal because without everything else, it wouldn’t have made sense. I keep the set.
“The good thing about this team is that every year they get used to playing big games. This created an internal baggage as a group and gives us a mentality that is an advantage over many teams ”, he reflects on one of the keys to the success of this legendary team that has captained since 2014.
“On the first trip to China it seemed that our backpack and canteen were missing. Now, it has nothing to do with it. Professionalism is not only the money you receive, it is the structure and intention that you put into it when you go to do your job. This has indeed changed ”, she explains about the growth that women’s basketball has been experiencing in Spain and that she has embodied like few others.
“At the end of it all, I stay with the people, with the people. I hope that I am remembered as someone who was there for many years, who fought for this and who cured it. Someone who worked hard ”, concludes the eternal Laia Palau.
The report features the interventions of María Planas, Amaya Valdemoro, Elisa Aguilar, Marta Xargay, Isa Sánchez and Jorge Garbajosa.