Anna Montanana is among the many talented Spaniards that has had the luxury of playing for Jose Hernandez, the coach of EuroLeague Women Final Four-bound Wisla Can-Pack Krakow.
Hernandez once coached Halcon Avenida, and Montanana was among his brightest stars before leaving for Ros Casares before the 2008-09 campaign.
She was reminded of just how good of a coach Hernandez is last year when he led her former team to the EuroLeague Women Final.
Montanana discovered earlier this year that she would once again play for Hernandez after he was made coach of Spain's national team for the 2010 FIBA World Championship for Women, and she'll do everything in her power to add to a medal to his already impressive curriculum vitae.
|Hernandez is now in charge of Wisla Can-Pack Krakow.|
Before then, Montanana will do her very best to make sure Hernandez makes an early exit from the EuroLeague Women because Ros Casares take on Hernandez's new club this year, Wisla Can-Pack Krakow, in the Final Four.
Montanana has nothing but respect for her former coach.
"He is able to make tactical changes that can be crucial but the main thing is that he makes his players believe that they can win any competition," said Montanana, whose team was earlier this week named hosts of the Final Four.
"He will know how to take the pressure off them. We start as favorites, but he will make sure his players play without pressure, with happiness and looking to enjoy it."
Playing at La Fonteta should give the Valencia club an advantage.
"I think to play at home would help Valencia a lot," Montanana said.
"Our fans will respond and our arena will be packed. Now we are thinking of the Semi-Finals, but why not think of the Final, too?"
It's an extremely happy time at Ros Casares, a club that lost to Spartak Moscow in the title game in 2007 but didn't make it back to the Final Four until this year.
"The EuroLeague is a very beautiful competition," Montanana said.
"We are looking forward to the Final Four. This could be a unique opportunity for us, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, perhaps.
"Of course there will be nerves because it is one of the best competitions in the world, but I don´t think we will have an added pressure.
"At Ros Casares, we already have the pressure to succeed but it´s a pressure we impose on ourselves."
While Ros go up against Wisla, a side that has been playing like a team of destiny, Spartak Moscow Region face UMMC Ekaterinburg for the third straight year in the Semi-Finals.
UMMC have gotten the better of Spartak in the Russian Cup Final, and in this year's Superleague Women in Russia, but they are undefeated in Europe.
"I see Spartak in the Final," Montanana said.
"I believe they will reach the Final."
The success of Ros Casares, and Wisla Can-Pack Krakow, has put Spanish women's basketball in a very good light.
National team veterans Amaya Valdemoro, Elisa Aguilar and Laia Palau are also on the books, and they all play for Spaniard Isma Canto.
In addition to Hernandez, EuroLeague Women All-Star Marta Fernandez of Spain is one of the club's leading players.
"I think the fact that there is one Spanish team in the EuroLeague Final Four, five national team players and our own national team coach shows that Spanish basketball has a high level, not only in terms of teams but players," Montanana said.
"I am very proud that our national team coach is guiding a team in the Final Four and that a player like Marta Fernandez is present.
"That generates hope in view of the World Championship."
The FIBA World Championship will be staged in the Czech Republic later this year.