Andrew Albicy, MoraBanc: 'We need to play the best basketball that we can'

Jan 08, 2019 by Javier Gancedo, Print
Andrew Albicy, MoraBanc: 'We need to play the best basketball that we can'

Morabanc Andorra is making the most of its second 7DAYS EuroCup season. After not getting past the regular season in its first campaign, Morabanc not only advanced to the Top 16 this season, but won its first game of that stage on the road – against Cedevita Zagreb in the Croatian capital – and is in a good position to challenge for a playoff spot in Group H. One of the team's pillars is playmaker Andrew Albicy, who comes off an outstanding performance that earned him Top 16 Round 1 MVP honors. Albicy torched Cedevita to the tune of 22 points on 6-of-8 three-point shooting, 5 rebounds, 8 rebounds and 4 steals for a EuroCup career-best performance index rating of 37. He is enjoying his time in Andorra, where he has been for the last three seasons and has become almost unbeatable at UNO, the popular card game. When it comes to basketball, he is doing better than ever, too. Albicy is averaging 12.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.3 steals in 11 EuroCup games this season. He leads his team and is seventh in the competition in performance index rating (16.6) and is third steals (2.3 spg.). Most important, he is shooting a career-best 41.4% from downtown, which allows him to be even more dangerous on the court, as he said in this interview. "I knew I had to have a better three-point percentage so that I have more choices on offense," Albicy said. "Now I can choose between penetrating, shooting or passing the ball."

Hello, Andrew. Congratulations on the big win in Zagreb. How important is it, in terms of confidence and setting new goals?

"Thank you. First of all, it is important because in the Top 16 all wins are really valuable. It is very important to get that first win immediately, especially on the road. Nobody beat us at home in the regular season, so we hope to keep that, too. It was important to win in Zagreb because we will have to visit Zenit and UNICS, which will be more difficult. It is a good first step."

It took Andorra almost two years to win on the road in the EuroCup, but you just did it twice. Did you need the extra experience, or was it something else?

"First, it is experience. After our first year in the EuroCup, most of the guys stayed in the team and now they have experience in this competition. I think that we know what we need to do to beat a great team like Cedevita. We played a perfect game and everybody did a very good job to win this game."

"I am more experienced now. My role did not change a lot, but I worked a lot in the summer to be better."

This is your fourth EuroCup season and you are playing better than ever. Did you change anything this off-season or is it just experience and feeling comfortable in Andorra?

"I would say I am comfortable in Andorra and am more experienced now. My role did not change a lot, but I worked a lot in the summer to be better. I knew I had to have a better three-point percentage so that I have more choices on offense. Now I can choose between penetrating, shooting or passing the ball. Now, I have a better chance to make three-point shots and that is perfect for me. This is maybe why I am doing better this year."

Your next game will be against UNICS, a team that beat you twice last season. Of course, both teams are very different this season, but you know most of their players already. What will be the biggest key to beating them?

"Their coach is the same, so their team spirit didn't change. We know some of their players, especially Jamar Smith. It will be like the first game for us and we need to play the best basketball that we can, like we did against Cedevita. They changed a great point guard, Quino Colom, for another one, Pierria Henry, so nothing really changed - a good player replaced a good player. We will see; it will be a good matchup against them."

What's your take on Zenit St. Petersburg? How much can they change with an experienced EuroCup coach like Joan Plaza?

"Maybe things will change with a new coach. I don't know if the spirit of the team will change, but last year, they made it to the quarterfinals and lost against Reggio Emilia. They kept most of their best players and added a good big man like Reynolds, who is playing really well right now. It is not going to be easy, but I think we can do it; we can be first or second in the group and qualify for the next round. All games will be important, but we are ready."

Your team just signed Jerome Jordan. You have played against him many times over the last three years. How can he help you from now on?

"He is a center who can score in the low post, and we were missing that type of player. He is very different from Oliver Stevic and Moussa Diagne, which is good. He can give us more presence in the paint, I am sure about that. He is a good guy and that is always important. He will not have any problems to join this group and help us out."

Morabanc Andorra is also the best sports flag in the country. How great is it not just to play for this club, but to represent an entire country?

"I can see it is different than when I came here for the first time. Our fans are amazing and every time we have an important game, everybody comes. We feel how important the club is for everyone in the country. Some people from France come to our games, too, which is very nice. When we play at home, we feel the atmosphere, our fans pushing for us, and that is great for us."

UNO is a very popular card game between EuroCup players. The word out there is that you are the best UNO player in the competition. Is it true? Who is your biggest opponent in Andorra?

"Of course it is true. I am the best UNO player! We play on every trip and I win a lot of times. I won't say I win every time, but a lot of times. Maybe we should do that, put together an UNO competition in the EuroCup! Maybe I will win, we will see! Rafa Luz is also a good player, and John Shurna."

Asking around, people say you are also very competitive at Fortnite. What do you like about the game, and what is your favorite strategy?

"I think I am not that good at it, but I try to play smart, with a strategy. Sometimes I prefer to wait while other people fight. I know it is not fair, but the goal is to win the game, nothing else. If I win, I am cool!"

"Of course it is true. I am the best UNO player! We play on every trip and I win a lot of times."

Your family comes from Guadeloupe, a Caribbean island that already gave us two EuroCup champions, Florent Pietrus and Mickeal Gelabale. How close are you to your roots and how proud are you to see so many Guadeloupeans doing so well in the competition?

"My mother is from Guadeloupe, but I am very close to them and try to go there every year to see her and my family. I think we have a good formation there. Every time we have a good player from there, he goes to France and then to a big team - for example, Gelabale went to Real Madrid and Khimki. We are very proud of that; every time a good player comes out of Guadeloupe, he usually makes it."

Only two teams started the Top 16 with road wins. Now that you have it in your pocket, how far can Andorra go this season?

"Yes. For us, we have to take one game at a time and win each game that we can without thinking about the next ones. Our first goal was to qualify to the Top 16 for the first time and we did it. We will see what happens, but obviously, our next goal is to get past this round. It is best to focus on the next game, give our best and get closer to our goals."