Hello Pep (Josep Claros), let us congratulate you first on Liga Americas title with Pioneros de Quintana Roo-Cancun and of course on Coach of the Year award.
Let us know please is the Liga Americas title the most important trophy in your coaching career so far? Is something hard to say because I have a lot of feelings for all the other titles as well. Obviously in America is a big thing, and I know this one will be in the Mexican history forever, but I really think every championship was special. Is difficult to reach the final and even more to win so Im proud of every championship I got because is always a lot of hours, a lot of personal connections fighting for the same goal and a lot of experiences that you just know when you win and lose finals.
Which game was the most difficult for you and your team at the Final Four Tournament? All of them. I will explain why: the first one because we were playing against the home team and even we had a lot of confidence there are some things you cant control playing away. We knew we could beat them if we had the mentality to smash and send a message, let everybody knows that we were good enough to win the championship. In some point we were 27 up, we finally won by 18. The second one was difficult because the Brazilian team has winning experience and players like Giovannoni and Alex (ex- Maccabi) and 3 National Team players. The last one, was obviously tough because Obras Sanitarias is the best Argentinean team, with the National Team head coach and they just need to win by 1 to be champions. We won by 9 and we were ahead all game using 12 players in the first half.
Can you compare the level of Liga Americas with some of the European leagues? Liga Americas is a competition that every game is all or nothing. You have to win 3 finals four before get the championship. All the teams you compete against are the best ones of their countries, so they know what it takes to get there and they have the best talent of their leagues. Every country has their own characteristics in terms of style of play. Is not the same to play against a Brazilian team than to the Argentineans and even more different if you play against the Puerto Rican team. You have to be clearly the best and do well some aspects of the game like dominate the rhythm, develop the toughness during the competition and have a good team mentality.
You reached 13 Finals so far with different teams in different countries. Which one you will never forget, except of the Liga American Final 4? I have good memory so I will remember all of them...I also remember all the losses I had so eventually they push me to keep fighting. I will not forget a game when with American University (NCAA Div. II school) we upset No.1 in the country Arkansas who was undefeated at that time. It was 16 years ago in a Christmas day. It wasnt a title game but it was just special and we made a big presentation to college basketball. After that we won the conference 2 years in a row with just 3 loses in 2 years and beating other schools like top 10 Alabama or Texas C. and Hofstra.
You started the season with the Halifax Rainmen. It was the inaugural year of the NBL Canada, so can you please tell us something more about the league? The NBL is an athletic league where you can have 10 Americans per team. Most of the players have stints in Europe , D- League and some even NBA. Is very interesting to see because you have all of the teams with real possibilities to improve the roster (22 transactions during the season) and to win every game because you are constantly thinking about winning the game but also to recruit the best talent available at the same time. Most of my players had played in Europe so they could adapt to practices and some of rules that I adopted.
What are your plans for the next season? You are still Head Coach of the Mexican National Team. I will decide very soon. The Pioneros of Cancun organization will run the team so it looks that Mexico could have a strong team if they add 5 or 6 players to the Mexican team we won the Liga Americas. After the silver medal we got in 2010 is a good opportunity to keep winning internationally. If they can have the best players Mexico can be very close to Argentina and Brazil , so eventually we could have good results. In the other hand there is an option in Europe that could be an excellent project for an emerging country that I m sure will be top in the very next future, because they have talent, physical strength, mentality and is run for good basketball minds. My goal is keep winning so I feel very fortunate if Im part of them.
Thank you Pep and we wish you all the best in the future!
LNBP Round 4 of Quarter-Finals. Toros claim semifinal appearance - 1 day ago
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Panteras - Toros 59-71 Toros upset Panteras in Game 4 of the quarterfinal series to seal their semifinal appearance. The guests trailed by 2 points after first quarter, but they stormed back to get the 3-point lead at the halftime and eventually won the game 71-59. Toros outrebounded Panteras 39-27 including 26 on the defensive glass. The former international center Lorenzo Mata (205-86, agency: Pro Sports) fired a double-double by scoring 11 points and 10 rebounds for the winners. Ameri... [read more]
Toros upset Panteras in Game 4 of the quarterfinal series to seal their semifinal appearance. The guests trailed by 2 points after first quarter, but they stormed back to get the 3-point lead at the halftime and eventually won the game 71-59. Toros outrebounded Panteras 39-27 including 26 on the defensive glass. The former international center Lorenzo Mata (205-86, agency: Pro Sports) fired a double-double by scoring 11 points and 10 rebounds for the winners. American forward Adrian Henning (203-82, college: Austin Peay St., agency: Pro Sports) chipped in 16 points. Toros' coach Jose Martinez Boglio used a ten-player rotation which allowed the starters a little rest for the next games. The former international power forward Fernando Benitez (204-89) produced a double-double by scoring 14 points and 10 rebounds and naturalized American swingman Karim Scott (-88) added 12 points and 4 assists respectively for lost side. Top scorers: Panteras: F.Benitez 14+10reb+3ast, J.Villalobos 12+3reb, K.Scott 12+2reb+4ast, J.Alfredo Casillas 6+2reb, R.Cotto 6+2reb+3ast, I.Gutierrez 5+4reb+1ast Toros: A.Henning 16+3reb, L.Mata 11+10reb, R.Nelson 10+3reb+2ast, W.Pagan 8+3reb+4ast, Q.Gonzalez 8+1reb+2ast, A.Franklin 6+8reb
LNBP Round 3 of Quarter-Finals. Garzas, Soles and Fuerza Regia advance into semis - 2 days ago
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Barreteros - Garzas 75-98 Garzas fired past Barreteros to seal their semifinal appearance. The game was mostly controlled by Garzas. Barreteros managed to win second period 28-26. But it was not enough to take a lead and get a victory that evening. They outrebounded Barreteros 37-26 including a 29-16 advantage in defensive rebounds. Garzas looked well-organized offensively handing out 22 assists. It was a great evening for Puerto Rican forward William Orozco (201-85, agency: Paris Global... [read more]
Garzas fired past Barreteros to seal their semifinal appearance. The game was mostly controlled by Garzas. Barreteros managed to win second period 28-26. But it was not enough to take a lead and get a victory that evening. They outrebounded Barreteros 37-26 including a 29-16 advantage in defensive rebounds. Garzas looked well-organized offensively handing out 22 assists. It was a great evening for Puerto Rican forward William Orozco (201-85, agency: Paris Global Sports) who led his team to a victory with a double-double by scoring 19 points and 11 rebounds. The former international forward Stephen Soriano (200-85, college: Colorado Mesa) helped adding 23 points. Garzas' coach felt very confident that he used 11 players which allowed the starters a little rest for the next games. The best for the losing side was American guard Brandon Provost (190-90, college: UTRGV) with 16 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists and the other American import center Benjamin Puckett (205-83, college: Clayton St.) scored 19 points and 6 rebounds. Both teams had four players each who scored in double figures. Top scorers: Barreteros: B.Puckett 19+6reb+1ast, P.Marigney 17+4reb+2ast, B.Provost 16+7reb+4ast, M.Gwynne 12+3reb+3ast, C.Jones 9+5reb+6ast, S.Escobar 2 Garzas: S.Soriano 23+4reb+3ast, M.Samarco 22+2reb+2ast, W.Orozco 19+11reb+1ast, T.White 17+2reb+8ast, B.Manjarres 8+5reb+6ast, A.Oriakhi 5+1reb
Soles cruised past Indios on the road to sweep the series. The game was mostly controlled by Soles. Ciudad was better in fourth quarter 17-16. But it was not enough to take a lead and get a victory that evening. They shot 60.6 percent from the field. It was a great shooting night for Soles especially from behind the arc, where they had solid 52.4 percentage. Their players were unselfish on offense dishing 22 assists. It was an exceptional evening for American power forward Justin Keenan (202-88, college: Ferris St.) who led the winners and scored 34 points (!!!). The former international point guard Pedro Meza (186-85, college: Arizona W. CC, agency: Pro Sports) accounted for 12 points and 6 assists for the winning side. American swingman Marcus Morrison (198-84, college: Middle Tenn.St.) came up with 32 points and forward Jorge Camacho (203-89, college: E.Kentucky) added 11 points and 6 rebounds respectively for Ciudad in the defeat. The winner was already known earlier in the game, so both coaches allowed to play the bench players saving starting five for next games. Top scorers: Indios: M.Morrison 32+3reb, A.Solares 11+3reb+3ast, J.Camacho 11+6reb+2ast, L.Gibson 8+3reb+1ast, T.Bennett 6+6reb+6ast, J.Avalos 6 Soles: J.Keenan 34+4reb+3ast, L.Martinez 14+6reb, P.Meza 12+4reb+6ast, J.Robinson 9+1reb+3ast, A.Perez 9+2reb+5ast, J.Carter 8+2reb
Panteras toppled Toros to force the fourth game in the quarterfinal series. Toros trailed by 11 points at halftime and as many as 22 after three quarters before a 29-16 last quarter charge cut the deficit to 70-79 at the end of the game. Panteras made 22-of-28 free shots (78.6 percent) during the game. Panteras outrebounded Toros 41-29 including 30 on the defensive glass. 24 personal fouls committed by Toros helped opponents get some easy free throw opportunities. The best player for the winners was the former international center Isaac Gutierrez (204-84) who had a double-double by scoring 21 points and 12 rebounds. The former international power forward Fernando Benitez (204-89) chipped in 18 points and 8 rebounds. At the other side the best for losing team was American guard Roberto Nelson (190-91, college: Oregon St.) who recorded 16 points and 8 assists and the other American import forward Adrian Henning (203-82, college: Austin Peay St., agency: Pro Sports) added 16 points and 5 rebounds respectively. Toros' coach Jose Martinez Boglio rotated ten players in this game, but that didn't help. Top scorers: Toros: R.Nelson 16+2reb+8ast, A.Henning 16+5reb+2ast, A.Franklin 10+5reb+1ast, Q.Gonzalez 5+4reb+2ast, L.Mata 5+4reb, J.Manuel Esteva 4+5reb+2ast Panteras: I.Gutierrez 21+12reb+3ast, F.Benitez 18+8reb+1ast, K.Scott 10+4reb+4ast, J.Alfredo Casillas 9+5reb+2ast, J.Villalobos 6+1reb, R.Cotto 6+1reb+3ast
Fuerza Regia claim the semifinal tickets as they beat Santos on the road. The game was mostly controlled by Fuerza Regia. Santos was better in third quarter 23-21. But it was not enough to take a lead and get a victory that evening. It was a good game for the former international Hector Hernandez (205-85, college: Fresno St., agency: BeoBasket) who led his team to a victory with 17 points. International forward Juan Anderson (198-93, college: Marquette) contributed with 14 points and 6 rebounds for the winners. American forward BJ West (211-89, college: Jackson St.) answered with 21 points and 8 rebounds and the other American import forward Greg Smith (198-91, college: Colorado St.) added 23 points in the effort for Santos. Five Fuerza Regia and four Santos players scored in double figures. Santos' coach Andres Contreras tested ten players, but that didn't help to avoid defeat in this game. Top scorers: Santos: G.Smith 23+4reb+1ast, B.West 21+8reb+2ast, X.Roberson 11+1reb+1ast, I.Avalos 10+1reb+1ast, F.Rosales 5+1reb, L.Ramirez 5+2reb+3ast Fuerza Regia: H.Hernandez 17+4reb+2ast, A.Panko 14+3reb+3ast, J.Anderson 14+6reb+2ast, C.Cortes 14+2reb, C.Rivera 12+1reb+6ast, J.Akindele 10+7reb+2ast
Steffphon Pettigrew (ex Abejas) agreed terms with GECR Indalo - 2 days ago
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Gimnasia-Indalo Esgr.Comodoro Rivadavia (LigaA) inked 28-year old American forward Steffphon Pettigrew (196-100kg-89, college: W.Kentucky, agency: HMS). He started the season at Abejas in Mexican LNBP. In 25 games he recorded very impressive stats: 17.1ppg, 6.2rpg and 2.4apg this season. A very good year in his career as he was voted to Mexican LNBP All-Star Game. The last season Pettigrew played at Chorale de Roanne in French ProB where in 34 games he averaged 13.8ppg and 5.7rpg. Among o... [read more]
Gimnasia-Indalo Esgr.Comodoro Rivadavia (LigaA) inked 28-year old American forward Steffphon Pettigrew (196-100kg-89, college: W.Kentucky, agency: HMS). He started the season at Abejas in Mexican LNBP. In 25 games he recorded very impressive stats: 17.1ppg, 6.2rpg and 2.4apg this season. A very good year in his career as he was voted to Mexican LNBP All-Star Game. The last season Pettigrew played at Chorale de Roanne in French ProB where in 34 games he averaged 13.8ppg and 5.7rpg. Among other achievements Pettigrew's team made it to the Uruguay LUB Semifinals in 2012. He received also Latinbasket.com All-Mexican LNBP 2nd Team award back in 2014. Pettigrew is a very experienced player. He has quite traveled the world as his pro career brought him to five different countries on four different continents (Europe, Asia, Latin America and of course North America). Pettigrew has played previously professionally also in Philippines (TNT Ka Tropa), Puerto Rico (Santeros), Venezuela (Marinos) and Uruguay (Aguada). He attended Western Kentucky University until 2011 and it is his sixth season in pro basketball.
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