In a recent interview with LaNacion.com, San Antonio Spurs’ Manu Ginobili talked about Team Argentina’s competition heading into the Olympic qualifiers, on being a Dad while playing with the national team, his take on the current NBA lockout situation and much more.
LaNacion: In the two games against Venezuela, Cordoba and Rosario, with the Super 4, you did some strong drives to the basket and tried several spectacular dunks. Why? Don’t you think it was risking too much?
Manu: I did it to see how my legs responds. I felt good in trying them. In the friendlies it doesn’t matter if you win by 5 or 40, but the goal is to get the win.
LaNacion: This is your first tour with the national team as a dad. Is it harder than the previous ones?
Manu: It’s strange, but luckily the practices are not too long. We are training a few days and then have two off, as happened before and will do the same this weekend, so it’s not so hard. Also, my wife and the twins were in Rosario and will go to Mar del Plata. What kills me is that now when I talk on the phone and tell me? Da-da. ” They learned it now.
LaNacion: Are you satisfied with the level of the competition of this tour so far?
Manu: It doesn’t look bad, we went from low to high, start with the weakest, Paraguay and Cuba, and then go up against Venezuela and Uruguay. Unfortunately we can not play with Brazil, but it is good to keep trying things.
LaNacion: What can say about the two games against Venezuela?
Manu: We had a flawless game in Cordoba and played all out, but in the Olympic qualifiers, it will be hard to get a 35-8 period. You have to stay humble, Venezuelan star Grevis Vázquez played a few minutes and we made lots of triples.
Still, the important thing is we were very aggressive and defended very well. In Rosario, not defended with success in the first half, we missed Carlos Delfino and it was harder and rugged. In the second half, we moved the ball better. It was a more comfortable and we are progressing.
LaNacion: Do you follow news and results from the other teams in the tournament?
Manu: No, for example, I know nothing of how Puerto Rico is or what team is Dominican. I do know something about Brazil because I speak every so often with Spurs teammate Tiago Splitter. Still, there’s no time to meet rivals until the first day of the Olympic qualifying tournament.
LaNacion: Do you closely follow the issue of the lockout in the NBA?
Manu: No, I’m not going into sites and reports in detail, but we get updates through e-mail and get a summary of what was decided on meetings.
LaNacion: What do you think could happen?
Manu: I’m mentally prepared to wait a while until it is resolved. And I have no expectations to begin on time, but I am optimistic that it will be fixed and we may play a part of the season.
LaNacion: If the lockout is not lifted, would you stay a year without playing?
Manu: I’ll try not to stay so long without playing. I’ll set a limit on January 7 if the NBA season resumes. If the entire season is cancelled, players might look for other teams to play with, but I hope there will be an NBA season.