Fabricio Oberto has already retired nine months from basketball when Argentina’s national team coach Julio Lamas gave him a call to join Argentina at the FIBA Americas Championships.
At the time, the 36-year old center had to work doubly hard to make it to Mar Del Plata.
To make things tougher, he suffered a fibrillar rupture in his left adductor 15 days before the FIBA Americas tips off and his participation in tournament was in danger.
But coach Lamas gave him the chance to be part of the team and he finally entered the court against Puerto Rico last Friday.
“I returned to life,” Oberto said. “I passed through tough days but I had the perseverance to go on working with the team doctor and kinesiologist and I made it.”
The former San Antonio Spurs player added three physiotherapist sessions per day to the team’s training sessions.
Oberto, who averaged three points and 3.5 rebounds in 12.5 minutes against Puerto Rico and Panama, talked to FIBA on his feelings, his role on the team and Argentina’s future in the tournament.
FIBA: How did you feel on the previous days and when you finally entered the court?
Oberto: I tried not to get crazy when the fans were shouting my name in the first two games. I tried to enjoy how the team was playing and wait until I was ready. When I played, I felt no pain. I was struggling a little bit to find my rhythm and where to place but after a while I remembered how it was to play Basketball.
FIBA: What can you add to the team?
Oberto: I tried to help with my defence and I made it. I started to feel comfortable with the ball on the second game and it will get better every night. I’m lucky to play on this team because they take good care of me.
FIBA: What do you mean when you say they take good care of you?
Oberto: They make things easier for me. They attract so many defenders that I’m always open.
FIBA: People chose you as one of their favorites.
Oberto: It was amazing, my legs were shaking when they cheered my name. I’m really thankful of how they treated me and I will try to give all that love back inside the court.
FIBA: What do you expect from the next games?
Oberto: It’s key not to underrate any opponent. It doesn’t matter the point-difference, we need to win every game and make it on good shape to Saturday’s semifinals. We know how to play this kind of tournaments and we have the personality to play key games.