From Cindy Garcia-Bennett, PA Sport
DKV Joventut forward Alex Mumbru was devastated when he was dropped from Spain's squad for last year's EuroBasket.
It was a huge blow to his pride, especially after he had taken part in the qualification stages.
On Sunday, Mumbru was back on cloud nine after his club beat BC Khimki 88-63 in the EuroCup final.
"From the first day we started to compete in Europe we knew it was going to be a challenge," Mumbru told PA Sport.
"We never thought we would get to the Final Four, let alone to the last game.
|Alex Mumbru scored 14 points and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds in DKV´s semi-final victory|
"We are so proud of our achievement and we are all over the moon."
Through the course of the competition, the 26-year-old averaged 11.3 points, while shooting 54.7% inside the arc and 41.8% from three-point range.
He collected 14 points and six rebounds in the semi-final triumph against Kyiv and finished with nine points in the Final.
"I always try to do my best for the sake of the team," he said.
"There are some days that you have a good game and others where you struggle.
"I never pay too much attention to individual performance in any case because the team always comes first."
At the start of the season, few could have expected Joventut to go all the way but the Spanish side have improved steadily through the course of the year.
Prior to the Final Four, DKV went on a six-game winning streak in the Spanish top flight to remain in contention for the play-offs.
The spirit within Aito Garcia Reneses' team has proved crucial all season, and Mumbru is convinced it has been a key to their success.
"It's not easy to play on the road against top teams," he said.
"The key to our great season has been the chemistry of the team and the day-to-day practice.
"But particularly in the last two EuroCup games, we have shown great character and seriousness when it has really mattered, even though we are a young team.
"We held our ground in the last five minutes of the game against Kyiv and we kept our cool in the final game."
Whether this title is the beginning of something bigger remains to be seen, according to Mumbru.
DKV had a strong run in the eighties and nineties which included a FIBA EuroLeague title in 1994 under coaching great Zeljko Obradovic.
But in recent years DKV have not been so successful, although they did beat Barcelona earlier this season to claim the Catalan Cup.
"It`s not easy to follow in the footsteps of the DKV teams of the 1990s," he said.
"Those teams made a huge impact and had great players.
"What I can say is that our current team gives everything on the court.
"We don't rule out anything, the road to success is always under construction.
"We are in a good position in the league and we have our share of chances but we know we have to take it one step at a time."
Indeed, DKV have won 18 games in the ACB and look certain to clinch a place in the end of season play-offs.
Mumbru will be hoping to continue making an impact with the FIBA World Championship in Japan just four months away.
"It would be fantastic to be part of the Spain squad and to play in such a prestigious competition," he said.
"I am doing my best but it's down to (Spain coach) Pepu Hernandez to decide.
"I hope to be given the chance.
"It wasn`t very pleasant to be discarded for the EuroBasket but my intention has always been to have a great season and return to the national team."
Maybe this time Mumbru will get the chance that then national coach Mario Pesquera denied him at last year`s EuroBasket in Serbia & Montenegro.