The first day of the Centennial Tournament could not bring better news to Alberto Diaz. It was an obvious matter that Ricky Rubio’s loss gave him many more gallons when it came to leading the team on the track, but now he is not only guaranteed good minutes, but it seems that also the great prize. Sergio Scariolo confirmed after the victory against Slovenia that the base of the Unicaja will wear the national team jersey again in the next World Cup.
The national coach was questioned about Juan Núñez, already fully entitled to the call: “He will have to play. We are happy with him. His teammates have to support him, they have to help him. He has to help himself, he is growing well” . And he then announced the great news: “He and Alberto are two players who will be knocking on wood in the team that will play in the World Cup”.
The truth is that it has not been a surprise to anyone. For performance he deserves it, but even more for what it means within the dynamics of the selection and for the role he plays. He is not the best scorer nor is he the best assistant. However, he is the heart of the team on the court and it has something that very few can boast about: the ability to change games from defense.
The match in Slovenia was yet another demonstration of why the man from Malaga deserves to be in the competition in Japan, the Philippines and Indonesia. The meeting ended with 7 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals. Yes, he is not the top scorer nor is he the top assistant -by little-, but he contributes in such a way-20 valuation in 20.28 minutes– that it was impossible to think of a call of 12 players without his presence.
Applauded at Carpena
Also, it was a very special game for him. The Unicaja captain returned to Martín Carpena this Friday after a season with millions of unforgettable memories. Although now he will have to save one more. The fans present there, from all parts of Spain, he chanted his name after a few minutes of pure spectacle, throwing himself to the ground to fight for every ball.
In short, a new day in the life of Alberto Díaz. As Sergio Scariolo says, “knocking on wood” will be one of the 12 chosen to debut in a World Cup. A reward for the daily effort of a player who will mark an era in the ‘dirty work’… discovered only after the last Eurobasket for the public unaware of his activity at Unicaja for so many years.