By Alex Madrid / firstname.lastname@example.org
After spending almost two years with four different teams and in three different countries and two continents, Augusto Lima has completed the cycle returning to what he considers his home: Murcia. Before their tough quarter-final game of the Basketball Champions League in Karsiyaka, the Brazilian center talks to Eurohoops, happy to represent the city that he loves throughout Europe.
“Murcia is very similar to the places where I have lived and the place I come from, which is Rio“, Lima says. “The people are friendly, the city is hot almost all year round, it is sunny. The quality of life in Murcia, it is wonderful to live in a place like this, where you have everything“.
At 26 years old, he has a great experience, and not only in the Spanish league. His time in Zalgiris Kaunas made him a name in the EuroLeague. Augusto Lima, who returned to Murcia this year, is not the same as the one who left the city two years ago.
“I am a better person and a better player than I was then. Over time, I have gone through many clubs and have had great coaches, which is what makes you a better player. The experience of playing away from Spain also made me learn another type of basketball“.
That personal and professional growth outside the ACB is something that he values and, without being asked, Lima mentions one of those coaches who has made him progress.
“I think my adventure far from Spain is not over. I’ve known a totally different world and if not the same, better than in Spain. I hope to continue expanding my career and knowing new teams. I’ve been in very good teams, the best ones in Europe. I thought about knowing a lot of worlds, learning many things and if I meet many Saras (Jasikevicius) and players with whom I had the opportunity to share the same lockers, so be it“.
UCAM Murcia is the third club in which Lima plays this season. Before returning to Spain, he had a two-month experience in the previously alien to him Chinese league, replacing Andray Blatche in the Xinjiang Flying Tigers.
“China, for me, has a lot of attractiveness. The league is going to grow a lot because of everything that is being invested and all the money the country has. It’s a league that has to grow a lot and it’s going to be one of the best. NBA and other great players go there“.
The opportunity to go to China arose while playing the Basketball Champions League with another club, Besiktas. The Turkish side fell against all odds, in the Round of 16, after Lima helped them win first place in their Group during the regular season.
“Besiktas has a Euroleague team, with great players. I don’t know what happened to them because I wasn’t there but in my time there we were very good. We were first and I think we had only lost two games playing great basketball. I can’t say what happened but luckily I changed my team in time and I came to Murcia, where I’m still competing in the Champions League”.
Augusto played his first great game after his return in the victory in Tenerife. An epic game in which UCAM Murcia knocked down the defending champions and in which the Brazilian center dominated with 10 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks.
“Nobody expected that. We played against the reigning champions on the road where they play spectacular basketball but we had more desire and we played even better. All the guys who were here before me, who started the season, deserve the best because they work hard every day. At the end, when you work hard things go always better“.
After defeating the champions, Murcia now faces another strong team on its way to the Final Four: Pinar Karsiyaka. DJ Kennedy and Jarrod Jones, favorites for the Champions League MVP, already led the Turkish side to a victory over Murcia in the regular season. This time, Charlon Kloof, Sadiel Rojas, Ovie Soko, Kevin Tumba and newcomer Augusto Lima, will try to stop them.
“Everyone talks a lot about if we can stop these guys. I think they have a very good team, where not only two or three players can do things, they have a great squad. I don’t worry about this. I know my team will fight, I trust my team as much as possible. We should ask them the same question people ask us. Are they also ready to defend us?”
The BCL made a ranking that placed UCAM Murcia as the eighth best team despite their improvement over the season.
“That’s better. When nobody expects something that’s where the surprises appear. I prefer if they see us like that, weak because we’re a team with heart and we’re going to fight until the end“.
In the Spanish league, Murcia had been defeated by Andorra, a team currently at the eighth place in the standings. But last week’s win over San Sebastian re-launched Lima and his teammates in the race for a playoff ticket.
“The ACB is like that, it’s a world top-level league and every year something incredible happens. I hope it keeps happening like that, that we keep fighting for a place in the playoff and we can make it into the last games”.
Also, it seems that this year teams will need more victories than ever to play in the postseason. Lima agrees.
“I think so. Last year we had 7 victories at this stage of the season and now we are going with 12. The level improves every year and you have to win more games, that’s what makes Spanish basketball look great. We’ll have to keep competing“.
One of the most-discussed recently is Facundo Campazzo. The Argentinian player was especially motivated when as a member of UCAM Murcia, faced Real Madrid the team that has given him on loan. Lima is in a similar situation right now since he plays for Murcia but his rights are owned Real Madrid.
Does a game against the Blancos also provide an extra motivation?
“I don’t have the May game in mind, I only think about Pinar. It’s the most important team of the year and also the most important game. Right now, it’s the only thing I think on. Madrid has a great team and we still have to face them but the date is very far. We have to think about the Champions League game“.
Photo Credit: BCL