It was early morning from Tuesday to Wednesday when the bus from Real Murcia Basketball diagonally crossed the peninsular geography to travel the almost 12 hours that separate the town of Ourense from a city in Murcia to which they were going to return as playoff team.

A totally unthinkable situation at the beginning of the season and one that the players proudly celebrated in the rear, beer in hand and while their technician began to lose his gaze on the horizon of a dark road through the front window of the vehicle.

In his mind, the images of a really hard year seemed to happen to make him smile a few times. Especially when they managed to come across a present in which his team had just achieved a heroic situation, but far from unknown to him. And is that Monclova knew very well what that meant to try to reach some Playoffs for promotion when one does not have the favorite sign associated with his name.

Because he had already done so in the inaugural season of the LEB Gold League (1996/97) with his Cajasur de Córdoba and thus he had emulated him in his last year as a player in the category where he led a modest Village of Los Barrios to the conquest of unsuspected heights.

Two authentic milestones of his stage of sneakers and tank top and that now, a decade and a half later, he will repeat with a suit and tie along with a Real Murcia Basketball in which he begins to emerge strongly as a technician.

Because if they enjoyed the stage of Rafa monclova player, his new version as a coach promises to remain at least as exciting …

Jorge García: “He has been able to bring his virtues as a player to the bench”

He was one of his first colleagues in this professional basketball and Jorge García still remembers, with great affection, that first LEB year at the Cajasur de Córdoba where they both shared a dressing room to end up playing the first Playoffs in the history of the League.

A whole year of youth and in which the current assistant coach of Los Astros de Jalisco in Mexico evokes with a certain nostalgia: “It was the first LEB in history, it was born with a bit of uncertainty since we did not know until the last moment if we were going to participate or not, but finally Marbella did not enter and we were able to make a niche for ourselves. A competitive and very young team was created with which to stand up to the Perasovic or Tony Smith to be able to achieve permanence very soon and to be able to later enter a Playoffs in which we fell with the all-powerful Andorra “.

Because there, Jorge discovered a coach who has inherited today the virtues that led him to stand out as a player: “Although it may seem that they have been able to reach the Playoffs for a carom, this would not have happened without the good work done by their team throughout the season. They deserved to be there and I just hope that now they can be lucky in a tie that is going to be very difficult. In that year in Córdoba, he already showed from his base position that he could be a good director on the track and I think that is something that he has maintained now as a coach. He always had the ability to lead his teams well and play a joyful game with a lot of scoring that I think is reflected in his team now. I remember a game in which he made 20/21 in free throws, which is a good example of his ability to work and consistency. “.

Richi Guillén: “His work as a coach is having a lot of merit”

Although if there was a player capable of fully exploiting the qualities of Rada Monclova as a point guard, that was Ricardo Guillén who coincided with him in that Villa de los Barrios in which the canary reinforced his condition as a historical player together with a playmaker who achieved thus his last playoff for promotion as a player.

An experience that the current Coordinator of CB El Palo Malaga remembers with a certain tone of melancholy: “I have great memories of that stage in Los Barrios where we really enjoyed as a team with the training sessions of Moncho Fernández and Hugo López. It was a difficult year because the club had some problems, but I think we all performed at a great level to achieve the first classification of the club for a Playoffs for promotion. Once there we were not too fortunate because we had a Manresa that had not started well and that went from less to more until getting into the last day. We had a field advantage and they won us both games on our court in two even finals which made us end up losing the series 3-0 in Manresa to end up moving up. Despite this, it was a really good season for everyone ”.

Season in which Richi took oil from the game generated by a base of which he keeps the best of memories: “We met for two seasons at Los Barrios and it could be said that he was one of the best point guards in the category at that time. He was a great couple with Pedro Rivero, showing that he was a very good director, a great shooter and a very clever player when it came to passing the ball and finding teammates. The other day I was able to follow his match in Ourense in which they went from hell to heaven and I was very happy for him when I saw that image on his knees on the track celebrating the promotion. I follow his career and his career and I think that in Murcia he is playing a magnificent role in a really difficult year for everyone and in which his work has had a lot of merit “.

Sports career – Rafa Monclova:

Training: San Fernando Box
1994/96: Caja San Fernando (EBA League)
1996/97: Cajasur de Córdoba (LEB Gold)
1997/99: Villa de Los Barrios (LEB Gold)
1999/00: Drac Inca (LEB Gold)
2000/01: CB City of Huelva (LEB Gold)
2001/02: Melilla Basketball (LEB Gold)
2002/03: Etosa Murcia (LEB Gold)
2003/07: Villa de Los Barrios (LEB Gold)
2007/08: Adepal Alcázar Foundation (EBA League)
2008/09: Adepal Alcázar Foundation (LEB Silver)

Career as a technician – Rafa Monclova:

Cat. Training:
Village of Los Barrios
Castilleja Cajasol (EBA League)
2011/13: Cajasol A (Cadet)
2013/15: Basketball Sevilla (EBA League)
2018/20: Real Murcia Basketball (LEB Silver)
2020/21: Real Murcia Basketball (LEB Gold)