Sergio de Larrea (Valladolid, 2005) and Alejandro Moreno (Zaragoza, 2004) are members of the Spanish Sub-19 basketball team, which has just won the World Cup in its category in Debrecen (Hungary). Both began in the sport in their educational centers, Saint Augustine School and Romareda School, of the Augustinian Recollects.

The Spanish Sub-19 basketball team won the World Cup on Sunday, July 2 in its category, played in Debrecen (Hungary), thanks to an agonizing victory in the final against France (73-69).

Two of the members of this winning team, Sergio de Larrea and Alejandro Moreno, share having started their steps in the world of high-level sports performance in two schools of the Augustinian Recollects.

Sergio studied and played at the Saint Augustine School in his hometown, Valladolid. At the moment he plays for Valencia Basket. Alejandro began to shoot baskets on the playing fields of the Romareda School in Zaragoza. Since last year he has lived in Munich (Germany) after years in the academy of Básket Zaragoza.

What feelings do you have after winning a World Cup?

SERGIO: The truth is that I feel very happy, although it is difficult to assimilate. I’m not yet aware of all that we have achieved. I only get words of gratitude, emotion, illusion and having fulfilled a short-term objective.

ALEJANDRO: It is a feeling of euphoria, to see that all the work has had a final reward, after the whole month of concentration. We were very prepared, both mentally as well as physically, we knew how to carry out a good game plan. In the end all this has been rewarded, it is very gratifying.

And how did you think about being in such an important final?

SERGIO: We knew it was going to be a totally different match from the previous ones. it was the fourth time we faced France and before that we had been victorious two of the three games played. They were going to impose a very high physical level, but the idea was to continue with our identity and above all not throw in the towel. The previous hours were nervous, we came to beat Turkey, another European power, and we felt a good chance of winning. The excitement of playing another game and the possibility of making history moved us. The key moment was coming back when we were seven points down, with some great decisive performances. That was where the identity and the group we had formed became apparent.

ALEJANDRO: We already knew the French players very well, their strengths and weaknesses, just as they knew ours. We follow our game plan and we trust that our basketball would be better than theirs.That critical moment made us see that things were turning out our way, but if something differentiated us it was our persistence, to continue fighting even when things went wrong. During the group stage and in the first elimination matches everything went very well for us, with very fluid matches. But even when things went awry in the finale, the last game, well we managed to get it going.

What biggest challenges have you faced at the World Cup?

SERGIO: The first obstacle, although it may not seem like it, was the World Championship itself, a competition that none of us had experienced, we were excited about how it could become. The second challenge was China, apparently with a lower level than Canada or France, but I think it was the game that we had to fight the most to win. And the last obstacle were the elimination matches, due to the pressure that they put on us between the ropes in case we had a bad match and the rival a good one.

ALEJANDRO: At the end of the concentration we had many injuries, with a week quite critical in which other colleagues had to be called. We managed to recover and we arrived to the World Cup, our objective. During the tournament we had no problems until the final, which it twisted us a bit, but we managed to get through it well and took the gold.

Has the training received at home and at school played a role important?

SERGIO: In everything that has been achieved there is a lot of work behind it. We prepared to compete before variables such as pressure so that at no time does it scare us. Is something common in everyday life, it is there and we have to prepare ourselves to deal with it. Of course, I believe that all the values that were taught both at home and at Saint Augustine School were keys to success. Union, respect and camaraderie are very important, in the life and in basketball itself.

ALEJANDRO: I am sure that all this helps, not only for sports, but for the evolution as a person. All the pressure and expectations on each player and on the team manage well with the education we receive at Romareda School as in home.

What does the team mean to you, working together, together with others?

SERGIO: In the end we are also a community, a group of people who, without the collaboration of all nothing works. I think it was a big part of the success, helping the other when he needed it, respect, share and enjoy the group that had been created.

ALEJANDRO: This is the most important thing, what led us to win. Even with key players on the foul bench, we trust each other. Putting all the faith in each mate we managed to get the victory. That inner chemistry is very important. Most of the players already knew each other from the European Championship last year and that chemistry helped much in the end result.

How did the school influence you to be a world champion today?

SERGIO: I started on the fields of Saint Augustine when I was 4 or 5 years old, and I continued until I left what was my home eleven years later. I always played with my friends and that was one of the main reasons why I kept playing. In a school you live everything in a way different, playing with friends is a plus. I was able to develop because there were always resources and people who wanted to help me, make me improve and, above all, make me enjoy playing and growing.

ALEJANDRO: I have very nice memories of Romareda School, of playing with my friends. You start this because you like it and to be with your friends, that was the motivation that It helped to continue playing, to continue improving. I am also very competitive, to be better and continuing to compete helped me a lot.

Do you have good memories of your coaches and teammates in School

SERGIO: The love I have for Saint Augustine School and my team is great, we continue to be in contact, they helped me form and part of this success is also theirs. The trainers were the spark to light the fire. They worked patiently and they taught us the concepts slowly, without haste, but well established, until things began to gel and the teams joined this learning process.

ALEJANDRO: I remember everyone with great affection, I still see them, they marked me in my stage by Romareda. Now in the National Team the most important thing is to learn from those moments and situations in which you are not important and then know how to apply them when you already have to give a step forward. All the previous coaches and teams have helped me a lot.

Any advice for those who play today in the College teams?

SERGIO: That they continue studying, even sports professionals have it very psyched up, it’s a safe mattress. And that they enjoy what they do, be it basketball or any sport, because it is the key to developing all abilities.

ALEJANDRO: Let them always fight. No matter what people say, everyone has a opinion, but if you have a dream and want to achieve it, keep fighting for it. if you believe in yourself even if it sounds like a cliché, if you fight for what you want, in the end you will achieve it for sure.

What are your goals and aspirations?

SERGIO: It is difficult to aspire to things when you are so young in the world of sports, since the success does not depend largely on you, it also depends on your body, which unfortunately is injured and “spoils”. My aspiration is to play in the ACB (first professional league in Spain) but who knows? I see it more as a dream that, to fulfill, I first have to enjoy the path.

ALEJANDRO: Continue to improve and achieve better leagues and better teams. As professional, living from basketball would be a dream, and that is why I must continue improving until I achieve more wins in the future.