Sarunas Jasikevicius and Cory Higgins appeared in the WiZink Center press room with serene happiness, valuing the conquest of the Copa del Rey, but dimensioning the trophy as the beginning of a journey. The Barça coach and the mvp of the final they agreed to underline one word above all: mentality. “We have worked very well in this Cup. We suffered a lot on the first day against Unicaja, but that helped the boys understand the mentality and concentration necessary to compete in such a tournament. We have to learn that we have to be a bit more bastard, “Jasikevicius said. “As the coach always tells us, to win you have to have a strong mentality and we had a champion mentality,” Higgins reiterated (20 points and 3 rebounds in the final and decisive in the quarterfinals and semifinals against Unicaja and Baskonia, respectively).
Jasikevicius’ game plan was an exercise in mental hardening of his troop, along the lines of the cohesion journey that he began after taking over the team last summer. “The boys are assimilating what we are asking of them,” the Lithuanian coach continued in his speech. “They are all understanding that we have to be together, play together, go to wars together … We are in a process and we have a lot to improve. But for the project it is always better to win than to lose. But this does not end here ”, Saras explained between the platitudes and deep philosophy.
Like an alchemist who calibrates the mix, Jasikevicius took the opportunity to send insistent messages of the future with which to concrete his wardrobe. “We are getting very good chemistry in the group. This is achieved by understanding that no one is above the team, that the stars have to sacrifice the same as the homegrown players … But we have to continue and continue to improve. It sounds boring but that’s the way it is ”, he developed in a speech in which he mixed praise, pedagogy and demands for his players.
“Can this conquest mean a change of cycle between the two greats of Spanish basketball?” They asked Jasikevicius. “I don’t believe in cycle changes. At Barça and Madrid you always have to win ”, he replied without showing off. “The club is going through a difficult time and you have to enjoy this Cup. But you have to go on and on …”, insisted the Barça coach.
Worried about the disconnections of his team, during the season and in this Cup, Jasikevicius took pains to tighten the rope throughout the final, spurring his team from the side and constantly reminding them of the lesson. “In the second half, discipline failed, but it caught up with us with individual talent and we knew how to hold on,” said Saras, always self-critical. “To win you have to be very cohesive on and off the track”, Higgins endorsed, who relieved in the award of mvp from the Copa del Rey to Real Madrid player Facundo Campazzo, one of the casualties that Madrid has been losing throughout the season.
Laso did not remember them. “I have the feeling that we never finish entering the game. We couldn’t do more. You have to give a lot of credit to the rival, ”explained the Madrid coach. “Right now he didn’t compare me to any other team. We must improve if we want to compete at the highest level, “he continued. The coach from Vitoria inaugurated his curriculum in Madrid with a Cup won in Barcelona (2012). Jasikevicius opens his as a Barça coach by raising the Cup in Madrid. Wherever the roads cross, as Sabina’s motto used to give the tournament a slogan, the Barça team opened the windows for the luxurious project led by Mirotic. “My first title with Barça took a while to arrive, but I hope it will be the first of many. Now we must be humble, celebrate this triumph and continue working ”, closed the Spanish-Montenegrin.