Lucas Victoriano celebrates the first National Institute League.  Credit: Matías García / National League

Lucas Victoriano left Venado Tuerto at the age of 15. She grabbed a bag full of clothes and left her people and places where she was happy behind. He left in search of a dream that he nurtured as a boy, to succeed in basketball, something that he would end up achieving by far to enter the history of sports at the national level. Many years later, now in the role of his coach, fate handed him a second chapter of uprooting. And another wink with glory. Last year, Victoriano had to leave his family again: his daughter and wife stayed in Spain, where the former basketball player spent a large part of his career and lived, while he agreed to return to Argentina to lead Cordoba Institute.

When he took office, in June 2021, the great objective of the man from Tucuman and his team was to take his team to the top of the local tournament within the framework of a general project. made it. Last Monday he guided the Gloria to his first National League and became the first person to win it as a player and as a technical director.

Under his eyes there are two deep dark circles that attract the attention of anyone. They are not painted. They are not there just because. It is the fatigue, stress and anxiety that came with the effort of playing an extremely demanding Playoff series against Quimsa de Santiago del Estero.

The frequent video calls with his daughter Carlota and his wife were a soothing during this difficult stage. In this way he feels close to his family and the thousands of kilometers that separate them are momentarily erased.

Lucas Victoriano celebrates the first National Institute League. Credit: Matías García / National League

In dialogue with Clarionthe Institute coach, recent champion of the National Basketball League, tells us about the engine that drives him every day: “I can’t give my daughter anything if I’m not full“, He says.

The Tucuman coach confirms with a strong and determined look: “I left my daughter in Europe because I think the path I chose to grow as a coach needs it. And Carlota’s mother, who is also a former player, understands it. It’s very complicated say ‘I’m moving away from the most sacred to pursue my career'”.

Lucas knows that he “can’t give anything” to his daughter if he “isn’t well.” That’s why he left his job in Madrid as a television commentator, moved away from the comforts and put on overalls to pursue his dreams. “A coach cannot stand with his hands in his pockets asking players to dive head first.. Everything one does has to be an example,” she adds.

Lucas Victoriano follows the games with intensity from the sidelines.  Credit: Matías García / National League

Lucas Victoriano follows the games with intensity from the sidelines. Credit: Matías García / National League

-How do you handle the pressure in a final?

-My concentration technique is not the same today as it was in my first League. I still have player techniques. We are a young team that is just starting the project. We have been working together for eight months. In stressful situations you need to get to know yourself with your team, with your club, with yourself. And then you also have to know how to erase. That’s why a game went wrong for you and you have to start over.

– Does your experience as a player help you?

-When I was an asshole I was completely crazy. I didn’t know if he was playing finals or not. I just wanted to play. That is why it is difficult now to ask the kids who have never experienced it, to know how to act in these situations.

-You also had a very important change in your game…

– When my back almost pulled me back, at that moment I said ‘Oops, what’s going to happen when this is over’. Many fears came suddenly and I went from being that person without fear and without fear to think about the future. Before, I was very athletic and with the problems I stopped being such a scorer and started playing one more game as an assistant. I began to play in another way, for others. That makes you have to know the game better. Having so much passion for the sport makes me look at everything and never stop. Sometimes I find myself giving my opinion about Real Madrid football, for example.

– You seem comfortable leading. Is it so?

-I like to lead, but without invading. Each one has their role and I have to help them to do it in the best way. There are times that I need to direct the energies of the players, who often have them in any direction. And also that at the same time they don’t stay comfortable because the next day, after achieving the goal, you have to go for something new.

As a coach, in addition to his time at Instituto, where he already won the Super 20 tournament last year and this National League, the 44-year-old from Tucuman directed Regatas de Corrientes, Estudiantes de Concordia and Pozuelo CB from Spain.

An Olympic spine.

inside the parquet, luke victorian will be remembered as one of the founders of the Golden Generation. One of the members who won the gold medal at the 2001 FIBA ​​Americas Championship and the silver medal at the 2002 World Championship. But his outstanding debt is to play the Olympic Games. He was unable to do so as a player due to a back injury.

He was part of the Argentine team that won the silver medal in the 2003 Tournament of the Americas. Photo: AP.

He was part of the Argentine team that won the silver medal in the 2003 Tournament of the Americas. Photo: AP.

– Do you think about the Argentine National Team?

– I take it as a dream. What yes, I want to be prepared if it comes out. If they call me from the ACB, from wherever, I always want to be prepared. But I’m not going crazy with the National Team. If there is an opportunity who will not want to be. Now, I want to do the Olympic Games. If it’s not as a coach, as an assistant coach, or as an assistant, I’ll do it as a manager. But I’m going to go to the Olympics, I’m sure of that.

-Did it hurt you to stay out of Athens 2004?

– I have suffered a lot. In the middle of the season we had spoken with Rubén (Magnano). But he did not have such an important role in the team. He was sung for me to go. Herrmann and Delfino were airplanes. It was logical that there be a change of at least two players, not the hard core. I don’t even feel guilty, or resentful, or anything. I automatically became one more fan of the Argentine National Team. I respect Rubén very much. I think he did what he had to do. That didn’t stick in my head.

– How were your first steps in Real Madrid?

– At that time it was more difficult to access the club. It was being on top of the mountain all at once. And when you get out of there, anything seems to go down the mountain. A failure. I started very high and then it was very difficult to tell my head that I was not taking a step back when I changed clubs. I was in a process. But at that moment when I left Madrid I said ‘I’m not ready to be here’. And obviously he was not prepared, he was very stupid.

– Was it hard for you to mentally adapt to that change?

– He took me for a long time alone in Madrid. Without family, without friends who are the ones who balance you and put your ducklings in a row. With 19 years, being very young.

– Something similar happened to Fabricio Oberto…

– Yes, in Greece. But I didn’t know I was depressed until I passed it. And the same when I retired. But there were already other media there, I spoke with professionals, something else. But in that formative stage not being with the aligned planets is complicated, because you can shoot anywhere. More playing in Madrid with money in his pockets and fame. It was dangerous. But it was the biggest thing that happened to me too. I had a seven-year bond with the club. I feel part of the history of the club. They always protect former players. It is a model club in every sense.

Lucas Victoriano during his time at Real Madrid.  Photo: Clarín Archive.

Lucas Victoriano during his time at Real Madrid. Photo: Clarín Archive.

Away from the family.

Across the ocean is his wife Paula Palomares Brave, former basketball player; and her daughter Carlota. With both she communicates daily through video calls. Both are more than 10 thousand kilometers apart. After winning the championship at the Quimsa stadium, Santiago del Estero, he remembered them despite the distance.

– Your family is in Europe, you left them there to be a coach. But a long time ago you did something similar: you left your parents to be able to be a professional player.

– Yes. At the age of 15 I left Venado Tuerto and my old man and my old woman stopped seeing me. That trip is fucked up because you grab a bag and say ‘I’m going for my dream’. If things go well you don’t come back, and if things go badly you become like a failure. So you don’t want either of those things to happen. When you separate you learn to strengthen the heart.

– And now how did you do?

– With Carlota’s mother, who also played basketball, it’s a little easier. Because there are also networks and video calls. Now when I finish I am going to spend three months by his side all the time. It is very difficult. When there is a difficult situation in the club I say ‘Flaco, I left my daughter to be here’. It is very difficult to find a more difficult excuse than leaving a daughter to come to work. But I know it is a path.

This week, Lucas Victoriano became champion as Institute coach. It made history, it is the first National League for those from Alta Córdoba. The Albirrojos fans chant his name at the Ángel Sandrín stadium. His players bench him, on and off the field. His daughter and his wife smile at him in every video call despite the 10,000 kilometers away.

But the smiles of today hide the tears of yesterday. Everything was a path of work and sacrifice. Before the fifth final, the definitive one, she received a special visit in Alta Córdoba. It was his father. The one who fired him at the age of 15 and with a bag full of dreams. Today he receives a 44-year-old man with a trophy under his arm.

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