Recently the Puerto Rican National Basketball team made the pilgrimage to IMG Academy in Bradenton to prepare for the FIBA Americas Cup taking place in Caracas, Venezuela through August and September. ALINE was in the house to evaluate and assess our caribbean neighbors. The Puerto Rican team is comprised of Puerto Rican nationals, NBA, and NCAA Division 1 players that took advantage of all IMG had to offer. One of the services the guys immediately we’re intrigued by was the ALINE Systems Functional ALINEment Assessment. Andres Rodriguez was the first to enter the ALINEment Center inquiring about the assessment and ALINE Performance Insoles. Once the ice was broken, the rest of the team fell in. They could all immediately see the benefit and impact ALINE had on their lower bodies and could see how this would reflect on the court. Enrico Encarnacion, the director of Sports Medicine for the National Team, took a special interest in the assessment. Seeing players on a day to day basis, treating for overuse issues, and dealing with the previous injuries from years of high level competition, he was acutely aware of the beneficial impact a product such as ALINEs would have on his athletes.
Being selected as a member the national team creates a feeling of pride, professional success and patriotism while selecting a coach from a foreign nation to manage your national team brings about a feeling of failure, question and thievery for some. Nonetheless, its still a common occurrence. A perfect example of this is in the world of soccer. From 2008 to 2012 Fabio Capello, an Italian, coached the English National Soccer Team, who are widely known as the birthplace of “footy”. More recently Jurgen Klinsmann, from the Netherlands, was hired to the helm of the US National soccer team. The lack of success of a previous regime lends itself to heading in a new direction, with a new coach, adopting a completely new style which has proven more successful.
On July 18th, Francisco “Paco” Olmos, a Spaniard, was hired as the new coach for the Puerto Rican National Basketball team. Amid much controversy Carlos Beltran, the President of the Basketball Federation for Puerto Rico stated, “I had to, the team needed a change”. If you follow basketball on an international scale, you should be well aware of the success of the Spanish National Team. They have been consistently ranked in the top 5 internationally over the past decade as well as claiming silver in the past two summer olympic games
One of the early decisions Coach Olmos made was to remove the team from the hoopla associated with the change and bring the team to IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL to train for the FIBA Americas Cup. IMG is quickly becoming the chosen destination for the world’s elite athletics. The “one-stop shop” of athletics, performance, and medical facilities on one campus has made IMG even more attractive than the year round perfect weather. While on campus, some of the more noteworthy athletes to cross the path of ALINE’s own, Jonna Pento, were JJ Barea (NBA – Minnesota Timberwolves/Dallas Mavericks), Carlos Arroyo (Ex-NBA – Miami Heat), and Renaldo Balkman (Ex-NBA – NYKnicks/Denver Nuggets). The overriding trend seen throughout the entire PR Team’s evaluation were the typical signs of the stress from playing on an unnatural and unforgiving surface associated with basketball. Collapsed arches, repetitive ankle sprains/strains and excessive pronation syndrome. ALINE to the rescue!!! Before the team’s departure they invited Jonna into their private practice at IMG for pictures and to present him with official team apparel.
A last second three point shot by Alex Galindo ricocheted out as the Boricuas claimed silver 91-89 on September 11th as Puerto Rico lost a thrilling game to Mexico in the finals of the FIBA Americas Cup. Before the final game began both teams had already clinched spots for the 2014 FIBA World Cup. Since then all of the Puerto Rican players have dispersed to professional teams throughout the globe.
Just the other day the phone rang with a mysterious unknown number from Louisiana. When I picked up Renaldo Balkman was on the other end. The Dallas Mavericks had seen how productive his performance was during the America’s Cup and picked him up for a pre-season contract. Renaldo was so impressed with his performance on top of ALINE Insoles all he wanted to know was…”Jonna, what do I have to do to get my hands on more pairs?!”
- Written/Edited by: Jonna Pento