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Moncho López “very happy” with the squad for the new season

Coach aimed at winning the national championship as the main goal for the new season

FC Porto is already preparing for the new season, with the mission of recovering the title of national basketball champion. This is “our focus”, Moncho López stated, aware that the team needs to “work more and better” and that there is a “responsibility and pressure to have a better season”. At the press conference that served to officially present the 2017/18 squad, the Spanish coach, who is preparing to start the new season leading the blue and whites, also assured he is “very happy with the squad” at his disposal, “with more resources, more versatility”, with young players, “but all with high performance competitive experience”.

The championship is the goal
“The main objective, our focus, is the championship. We are aware that we have to work harder and better and we need to talk of other factors such as luck and bad luck in terms of injuries, which I hope will be on our side when we reach the decisive stage of the championship, with good chances of winning. In Europe, we are going to try to qualify to the FIBA Europe Cup, even if we do know that it will be a very difficult elimination round, no matter who the opponent is, especially as it will be played at a stage of the season when the team will not be fully fit or as connected as we would like.”

The pressure and responsibility
“We come from a bad season, with poor results, as we only managed to win the Super Cup. We feel the responsibility and, we have to admit it, the pressure of having a better season. From my point of view, in terms of potential and talent, this year the team has with more features, more versatility, young players, but all with high performance competitive experience in. I am very happy with the squad, I think we have skill to move well and, in that sense, I want to thank for the effort - and not in financial terms - but in terms of help and commitment from the board, led by Victor Hugo.”

The making of the squad
“We tried to have the best national players possible, within our preferences and ability to sign and belief. Then, we looked at what positions the foreign players fit in, given that we already had Sasa Borovnjak, with whom we renewed at the end of last season. From there, we saw that there was the possibility of signing a good Portuguese point guard, as is Pedro Pinto, which made us think that we did not need to fill the position 1 with a foreign player. In that sense, for this season, we aimed at finding athletes for positions for which there aren’t asmany options in national basketball, namely the 3, which all three North-Americans players can do. And we still managed to get Antonio Monteiro back, who is a very valuable player for us.”

A taller team
“It is true that the team grew in height, especially in the outer positions. It really wasn’t a conscious choice to look for taller players, as, above all, we looked for players who met our expectations in terms of technic and talent, and who fit our philosophy. We have tall athletes in positions 2 and 3, but we didn’t increase that much in the centre, although we did get an athlete from the B team, Keven Gomes, who is 2.10 meters tall.”

The style of play
“The game will naturally change, as we have five new players in the team, even if it’s a return in one case, and two players from the B team. In that sense, there will always be some changes in the style of play, not only because the players are different, but also because of the very evolution of basketball. There may be some changes, but truth is we already have a very consolidated style of play: we are a team that does many indirect blocks, many passes in the construction of attacks, a team with rhythm, who plays very well in transition.”

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