Guillem Ferrando grew up watching Valencia Basket games live, so that makes it all the more special for the guard to lead U18 Valencia Basket to the Euroleague Basketball Adidas Next Generation Tournament Finals. Ferrando was one of the leaders for Valencia in booking its first ticket to the ANGT Finals as he averaged 9.3 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists at the ANGT Valencia while still just a 16-year-old.
Valencia surprised many observers when it won the first qualifying tournament of the season, even though it was hosting the event.
"I remember it with lots of feelings. I remember it as something amazing that I may never again enjoy in my life. They were such hard games. The reason we won was because we played together as a team, helping each other,” Ferrando said.
Valencia did not have one standout star as five players averaged between 8.8 and 14.0 points with three different players leading the team in scoring in the four games. And that worked to the team’s advantage.
"It was something very important. The scouts of the other teams didn't know which player was going to be the best each game. The first one it was Alejandro Ortega, and it was Marc Garcia in the first-place game. It was very important to achieve the win," he said. "We played together as a team, encouraging each other. Everyone was focused. When someone joined the game from the bench, they gave it 100 percent. That helped us a lot."
It also helped that the Valencia players felt an even bigger connection to the team since nearly all of them are from Valencia or the region.
"It is something really special to compete against the best teams in Europe with people of your city. We have spent so many years playing together and it is a great feeling to share that feeling with them," said Ferrando, who is from Benifairo de la Valldigna, located just outside of Valencia.
Sharing Valencia basketball with the fans of the city is something that Ferrando has been doing for many years. Ferrando started playing basketball when he was 6 years old and he joined the Valencia club when he was 12 years old. Valencia Basket was always something that had a special place in Ferrando's heart.
"I have spent all my life watching basketball. Since I was a child I had Valencia Basket season tickets and I used to come every week and I watched a lot of ACB league games on TV," Ferrando said.
Ferrando's chances to improve increased with the September 2017 opening of the L'Alqueria del Basket facility, which includes nine indoor courts as well as a couple of outdoor courts adjacent to Valencia Basket's arena, Pabellon Fuente de San Luis.
"It is something amazing. By building these facilities, the club helps us in our daily work, improving our shooting, our skills, and making real the possibility to improve as a player every day. And it is very important for us," said Ferrando, who has averaged 8.7 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 0.8 steals for Valencia's second team in the EBA league.
The L'Alqueria del Basket has helped Valencia grab one of the much sought-after eight spots in the ANGT Finals for the first time, meaning Ferrando and co. will play at the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four at Vitoria-Gasteiz.
"It is something very special. We are going to enjoy it like we are little kids. We are going to play our best and try to win until the end," he said.
Regardless of how Valencia performs in Vitoria-Gasteiz, just the club being there will mean so much for Ferrando, since it's been his life-long favorite team.