Marcelinho eyes BCL silverware as May birthday gift
TENERIFE (Spain) – When Iberostar Tenerife signed Marcelinho Huertas this summer, fans around Europe knew precisely what the Spanish team was going to get from the Brazilian with the trademark one-legged runner shot.
We will try to reach yet another Final Four and hopefully win the trophy again - Huertas
In the reliable 36-year-old point guard, the Basketball Champions League and Spanish Liga Endesa contenders were adding to their roster a well-respected floor general and a leader who will take - and make - the clutch shot if need be.
Marcelinho has already demonstrated that he maintains that clutch instinct by drilling a dagger three in Tenerife's 72-68 win over Peristeri winmasters on BCL Gameday 3, or by hitting the game-winner in the island team's 74-72 victory at Movistar Estudiantes in Liga Endesa action on Sunday.
Likewise, the Brazilian veteran also knew very well what to expect from Tenerife, and the BCL legacy of the club which was the competition's first ever champion and reached another final in 2019 was a major factor in his decision to join the team.
"It was clear to me that I wanted to play in two competitions, domestic and European, I wanted to keep competing at a high level," Huertas told championsleague.basketball.
"I had offers from other teams, and there were a lot of factors in my decision. The Tenerife project and the roster are exciting, we are playing in a competition [the BCL] in which we start with a lot of ambition.
"We will try to reach yet another Final Four, and hopefully try to win the trophy again."
Marcelinho cannot think of a single things that surprised him upon arriving at Tenerife. He's spent in Spain the biggest part of his professional career so he had plenty of first-hand information.
"Everybody had told me the best about the club before I came here and everything is as I expected," he said.
"It is a very serious club with professionals who take what they do seriously and everyone on this team knows why we are here.
"My good relationship with Coach [Txus Vidorreta], whom I've known for many years, was also important because I admire his work and his philosophy and I believe in him."
🔘 @Huertas09, clave con un canastón a 3,9 segundos del final, fue el MVP aurinegro del triunfo de hoy— Iberostar Tenerife (@CB1939Canarias) November 3, 2019
👌 18 pts (4/5 T2; 2/3 T3 y 4/4 TL)
🔥 8 asistencias
💪 4 rebotes
👍 + 12
💛🖤 25 de valoración pic.twitter.com/jgYfunFDrK
Marcelinho played for coach Vidorreta at Bilbao Basket in the 2007-08 season.
"Txus is a very tactical coach and he has a place for everybody, he knows how to get the best from every player and incorporate it into this playbook, especially on the offensive end so each one of us can perform at the best level we can," the Brazilian said.
"[He asked me to do] more or less to do what I have been doing all my career, to try and be a leader on the court, manage possessions according to the players we have on the floor, to direct play, distribute the ball or score according to the situation."
Maintain the right mental attitude regardless of whether you have problems with the coach, or you don't play enough minutes - Huertas
A BCL Birthday Gift
All the ingredients are in place and expectations are already being met. The thought of having the BCL trophy among the gifts he receives for his birthday, which falls only a few days after the 2020 Final Four in May, has crossed Marcelinho's mind.
"It is a great objective to have and winning the title with Tenerife at the age of 37 would be very nice," he said.
"It's still early in the season, although I can say that the team has very good potential and we can compete against any opponent and in any competition.
"The most important thing is to maintain the right mentality and have consistency.
"Performing with consistency is the most difficult thing at this level, where you are playing at the maximum in every game and you need to avoid negative streaks. So, it's about working and getting better, for the team to create this identity."
Huertas played this summer in China in his 4th FIBA Basketball World Cup with Brazil
It's (Not) A Kind Of Magic
Consistency is definitely one of the main characteristics of Marcelinho as an individual player but he doesn't cast himself in the role of the savvy veteran who imparts wisdom in the locker room.
"There is no magic key, no big secret to be unveiled", he said.
"When I was a young player, it was always about trying to learn the most you could from the veterans, listen, ask questions, take note of how they do the small things, the details.
"I am still learning at 36, so I think it's more a question of the player being interested in improving and taking on board new knowledge, at whatever age you are."
😤 💪 Sangre, sudor... ¡y victoria! Los gestos y detalles de un triunfo trabajado.— Iberostar Tenerife (@CB1939Canarias) October 30, 2019
🎦 ¡No te pierdas la minimovie de una nueva noche de Champions en el Santiago Martín!
💛 🖤 #VamosCanarias #ElLatidodeNuestraHistoria pic.twitter.com/0YJFMCDpsf
There is however one thing the Brazilian playmaker considers the key, albeit not a magic one, to his longevity as a player.
"Work ethic is the most important aspect," Marcelinho said.
"You need to maintain the right mental attitude regardless of whether things are going well or bad, regardless of whether you have problems with the coach, or you don't play enough minutes.
"I have faced such situations in my career, where things were not as a player wants them to be, but you need to keep a good mentality, to keep working and keep believing.
"Obviously taking care of yourself physically is important, even more so at the age of 36, but it's something you need to start when you are young.
Whether you are in Spain, Russia, Afghanistan or Brazil, you need to maintain a positive mentality to get results on the court - Huertas
"Today's it's even easier to stay in good shape and everyone can do it because of all the information that is readily available.
"Of course injuries can have a huge impact and in that respect I have been lucky in my career.
"But these are not secrets, they are the basic principles a player has to follow."
From Brazil To Tenerife
Marcelinho, who loves to learn new things as as seasoned veteran, freely admits there are plenty of things he does't know, like when you ask him whether the Lakers will win the NBA championship now that Lebron James and Anthony Davis have joined forces in Los Angeles purple and gold.
"I don't know, that's a very difficult question," he laughs.
"For sure they will have a much better season than the last ones, they have started off very well, but the NBA is a huge battle."
Marcelinho signed with the Lakers in 2015, when he was already an established name in European hoops, and returned to Spain in 2017 for a second stint at Baskonia. He has played for a relatively few clubs by modern standards, although he left Brazil to join Joventut Badalona as early as 2004.
"I have been away from home for a long time," he said.
"I have been in some great places to play basketball and to live, and sometimes I think that if Sao Paulo was in Europe, it would be the ideal place for me to play.
"Wherever I have been though, I have tried my best and I think that is the most important thing you can do for things to go well.
"Whether you are in Spain, Russia, Afghanistan or Brazil, you need to maintain a positive mentality, the desire to work and a smile on the face in order to go out and get good results on the court."