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Colombia Internationally

Victor Garcia

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LPB Standings
Eastern Conference
 1. Titanes 5-1 
 2. Warriors 4-2 
 3. Piratas 1-5 
 4. Patriotas 0-2 
Western Conference
 1. Fast Break 5-1 
 2. Academia 4-2 
 3. Cimarrones 2-4 
 4. Sabios 1-5 
Full Standings
Liga Americas Standings
Group E
 1 San Lorenzo 3-0 
 2 Mogi 2-1 
 3 Ferrocarril 1-2 
 4 Fuerza Regia 0-3 
Group F
 1 Regatas C. 2-1 
 2 Estudiantes C. 2-1 
 3 Bauru 1-2 
 4 Guaros 1-2 
Stage One Standings
Liga Centroamericana Standings
 1. Correcaminos 5-0 
 2. Santa Tecla 4-1 
 3. San Pedro T. 3-2 
 4. Costa Caribe 2-3 
 5. Banco Atlantida 1-4 
 6. Halcones 0-5 
Stats Leaders
Points Per Game
  Avg: 25.7
 1. Iziahiah, Patriotas25.7 
 2. Johnson-C., Warri.24.0 
 3. Roberson, Titanes21.2 
 4. Sierralta, Piratas21.0 
 5. Moore, Fast Break20.8 
 6. Brown, Fast Break19.8 
 7. Lopez, Cimarrones18.8 
 8. Sneed, Titanes18.0 
 9. Shey, Sabios17.3 
 10. Hernandez, Cimar.15.3 
Rebounds Per Game
  Avg: 12
 1. Hernandez, Warri.12.0 
 2. Hinestroza-J., Acade.10.8 
 3. Moore, Fast Break10.6 
 4. Sneed, Titanes9.3 
 5. Asprilla, Sabios9.0 
 6. Wannah, Sabios7.7 
 7. Zuchary, Patriotas7.0 
 8. Almanza, Fast B.6.8 
 9. Jones, Titanes6.7 
 10. Marriaga, Fast B.6.7 
Assists Per Game
  Avg: 5.7
 1. Granados, Academia5.7 
 2. Roberson, Titanes3.7 
 3. Zuchary, Patriotas3.5 
 4. De-Jesus, Fast B.3.5 
 5. Pena, Patriotas3.3 
 6. Munoz, Academia3.3 
 7. Shey, Sabios3.3 
 8. Baez, Warriors3.3 
 9. Sneed, Titanes3.2 
 10. Brown, Fast Break2.8 
Steals Per Game
  Avg: 4
 1. Iziahiah, Patriotas4.0 
 2. De-Jesus, Fast B.2.5 
 3. Munoz, Academia2.5 
 4. Hernandez, Warri.2.2 
 5. Steele, Warriors2.0 
 6. Sneed, Titanes1.7 
 7. Diaz, Titanes1.7 
 8. Johnson-C., Warri.1.7 
 9. Sifontes, Piratas1.5 
 10. Medina, Titanes1.5 
Blocks Per Game
  Avg: 1.5
 1. Hernandez, Warri.1.5 
 2. Wannah, Sabios1.0 
 3. Asprilla, Sabios0.8 
 4. Marriaga, Fast B.0.8 
 5. Sneed, Titanes0.5 
 6. Steele, Warriors0.5 
 7. Hinestroza-J., Acade.0.5 
 8. Perez, Academia0.5 
 9. Jones, Titanes0.3 
 10. Mena, Fast Break0.3 


Next Round Schedule

Round 6 (Regular Season)

Cimarrones Oct.19 Academia 56%
Piratas 57% Oct.19 Piratas
Warriors Oct.19 Titanes 53%
Piratas 57% Oct.17 Piratas
Piratas 57% Oct.16 Piratas
Interview with Nikola Kuga - May 29, 2012

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Nikola Kuga
Nikola Kuga (200-F/G-86) is a 25 years old shooting guard. He was born in Bihac, in the north-western part of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He lived in Croatia , then during the war moved to Montenegro, and finaly to Serbia. So he can call himself a truef Yougoslavian: 'It was a really hard childhood time, but I look at it in a positive way. I can say I was lucky because I met many different people as a kid.'

Kuga's basketball time was also interesting. The 200cm serbian grew up in the famous basketball school of FMP Belgrade (the same youth program of many Euroleague players like Milos Teodosic and Nemanja Aleksandrov). Nikola collected dozens of caps in the Serbia Cadet and Junior teams. He played in Serbia (FMP) , Cyprus (Achilleas), Macedonia (Amak Ohrid), Slovenia (Polzela), Iceland (Skallagrimur) and again in Cyprus (AEK Larnaca) before being a legit pioneer on the other continents: Morocco (Sport Plazza), Dubai (Al Sharjah), the Maldives (RLC). He played in South America (Colombia, the first European ever) and in Asia (Vietnam),and was a top 5 player in the Gran Canaria 2007 Summer League and one of the best in the Malaga 2010 Summer League. Time for an interview:

Hey Nikola, your story is pretty interesting. As a product of the Serbian basketball school you decided early to play abroad. Tell us a little bit about you and your career so far.

I love challenges. As a young player I had a chance to go and play abroad. I left Serbia very early. After Serbia I played in Cyprus, Slovenia, Macedonia, Iceland... after afew years in Europe I was offered to play out of Europe. It was an great chance for me to discover new basketball worlds and start to write the second chapter of my basketball story. My first contact out of the Europe was Morocco. I was fascinated by the different lifestyle, culture, people and history, so I never regretted that decision. I spend one great year and season there, with great success. After that I went back to Europe for one season. At the end of the season I got a lovely offer from the Maldives to play a summer tournament. It was a great preparation for the next season, and a really amazing and relaxing time.

The 2011 season brought big challenges. I went to Latin America, and was the first player from Europe in Colombia ever. It was a crazy
time: four games per week, 24 games in less than 2 months, and play offs. It was a really tough league, with some NBA-players. I can describe it in a few words: games, practice, travel, sleep... Of course I had some days off, but only a few times I was able to go out and see the really amazing girls in Colombia.

After this 3 month competition I shortly moved to Dubai and spend a great time with Arabic 2011 Champion Sharjah . One of the best coaches in The Middle East area, Abdul Hamid, called me to help his team for some tournaments there . I couldn't play the championship, because only 1 import' player is allowed over there, and they allready had a US Point gueard. But it was a great expierience. After that I went to Vietnam, my last stop so far.

You have played in so many countries, from Europe to Africa, South America and Asia. What did you learn from this countries and what are the main differences of the game in these different areas?

Playing basketball in all those countries and experiencing different basketball and cultures made me a really better person and a better player. I feel very blessed and thankful for my basketball experiences. I'm focused on working hard, making teams happy and enjoying basketball. I'm a player who's trying to get better and better, this is my challenge and my job.

There are many differences between the game in Europe and other places I played. Out of Europe the game is much more focused on offense.
Playing as an import means you have to score 20, 25, 30 points. It's more NBA-style, the game is fast. There's more motion, many fast breaks, people like to see their teams score 100 points in a game. In Europe, teams are more focused on defence, tactics, the position game... so that's the main difference. As a player you have to be a bit more athletic and get individual skills, because you can expect to play a lot of 1 on 1 games, and have to create your own space. Also, almost 80 procent of the points come from import players. Teams are expecting points from you each and every game, while in Europe there are at least 8 or 9 players able to have a high score almost every game. It's not an easy job, but every day you learn new things and that is why I really love basketball.

Do you have funny stories about different local cultures ?

Well, you have to be flexibile and adjust your lifestyle to the local culture. There are many more differences then in basketball. My career brought me in so many countries, experiencing cultures and different mentalities and always learn more about the world we live in.
Adjusting is not always easy of course, and there are a lot of funny situations happening every time. People in Asia are so friendly it's always funny walking along the streets every day, where you can just meet people asking you something: it's amazing. It's always a lot of attention. In Morocco it was always funny. Really nice people, but not so organized about basketball. On the day before a game, on the practice all team owners appear and ask the same question: Are you ok?'. Then, the next 5 days, nobody come. The taxi drivers in Vietnam were also funny. They don't speak English. They drive you around the city for 40 minutes, before they drive you to your address. All you can do is wait. Now it's really funy, but there it wasn't .

Food is a special story. You need at least a month to adjust to the local food. In Asia they always make food spicy. On the Maldives, every single meal was spicy. I told them: please bring me an un-spicy meal the next time. Always they answered: sure. And always the next meal was the same as the previous. But hey, now I like spicy food...

Who is Nikola Kuga off court in everyday life?

Well, I am not much of a different person on and off the court. I love sports. Off season time, I try to stay at least 1 month out of basketball. But I play tennis and I like to swim. The last few years, I use the summer to go in a Hiperbaric Chamber to recover after the season.

I love to discover new things. I love music, the internet. Not so much different things than everybody I guess . I like to spend time with my family. Summer time is great for that, because during the season most of the time we're not together.

What's your next challenge as a player?

Well , I am 25 years old . My previous expierience told me never to say I will go there'. So I hope I will continue to write new chapters of my basketball story somewhere in the world.   

Karl Moore
LPB Round 5: Cimarrones defeat Sabios in the closest game of the week - 8 hours ago
LPB is at the halfway of the Regular Season and there are still another 5 rounds left. Here is the last round review presented by ESL. The most exciting game of round 5 in the LPB took place in Quibdo-Choco. This derby game ended with only two-point defeat on the road of 4th placed Sabios (1-5) to third ranked Cimarrones (2-4) 79-77 in the game for the third place. Cimarrones well out of reach of Sabios shooting 100.0 percent from the field. It was a great shooting night for Cimarrones e...   [read more]

Hernandez double-double lands him Interperformances Player of the Week award - 15 hours ago
John Hernandez (207-C-84) had a great game in the last round for second-ranked Warriors and receives a Interperformances Player of the Week award for round 4. He had a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds, while his team beat Patriotas (#4, 0-2), the league's bottom-ranked team 77-70. Warriors maintains the 2nd position in their group in Colombian league. They would have been even better if they did not have these two lost games earlier in Regular Season. Warriors will need more vi...   [read more]

LPB Round 4: Cimarrones beat Sabios by two after a very close game - 1 day ago
Here is the last round review presented by ESL. The most exciting game of round 4 in the LPB took place in Quibdo-Choco. This derby game ended with only two-point defeat on the road of one of their biggest challengers Sabios (1-5) to third ranked Cimarrones (2-4) 64-62 in the game for the third place. Cimarrones well out of reach of Sabios shooting 100.0 percent from the field. It was a great shooting night for Cimarrones especially from behind the arc, where they had solid 100.0 percent...   [read more]

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