Bianca Torre is no stranger to the hardwood or international basketball tournaments.
The 2009 Harlingen South graduate and former University of Texas-Pan American standout is geared up for her second go-round with the Mexican National Basketball team at this year’s FIBA Women’s Americup basketball tournament, which begins today in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The Valley Morning Star had a chance to catch up with Torre prior to the tournament.
Q: When was the first time you played for the Mexican national team?
A: The first time I played for Mexico was in November 2014 for the Centro Americanos y de Caribe tournament in Veracruz. We won the bronze medal in that tournament.
Q: How was that experience?
A: It was an experience of a lifetime. The opening ceremony was something you see on TV for the Olympics. It was just breathtaking. I was fortunate enough to be coached by two WNBA coaches, Marynell Meadors and Gary Kloppenburg. I had an amazing group of teammates and training staff as well.
Q: How did you make this year’s FIBA team?
A: I received a phone call with the opportunity to try out for the Women’s Mexican National Basketball team once again. I took the challenge of competing for two weeks against other players wanting to represent Mexico. I made the team after an intense two-week tryout.
Q: What is the best part about playing on the Mexican National team?
A: The best part would definitely be representing the country of Mexico and representing my family. My father is from Mexico City and I have some family that still lives there. Getting to play with amazing basketball players is something I will always remember. Playing basketball has been one of my biggest blessings in life. God has allowed me to travel the world with the wonderful game of basketball and there are no words to express my thankfulness. I’m not only playing for a basketball team, but for my family and those who believed in me and have supported me throughout my career.
Q: What made you want to play on the team again?
A: Basketball has been my life since I was in the second grade. When I received this opportunity to try out, I knew I could not pass it up. I challenged myself to make the team. I wanted to represent Mexico on the world stage against other competitive countries and their players. This is also for the younger girls who feel like opportunities like this are impossible. If you have a desire in your heart, God can surely open doors for you with hard work and determination.
Q: Is it a tournament or a set of games and who else will you be competing against?
A: It’s the 2017 FIBA Women’s Americup being hosted in Argentina and we will be competing against Puerto Rico, Canada, Paraguay and Cuba, which are in our bracket. If we win our bracket then we will continue against the other teams in the tournament, which consist of Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela and the Virgin Islands.
Q: You have been coaching for the past few years. How has that been?
A: Yes, I have been coaching three sports these past two years at Edinburg High under a tremendous coaching staff in all three sports. It’s been a transition from playing to coaching, but I’ve been learning along the way and soaking any bit of information that I can to better myself as a coach. I’ve learned that patience is very important and any progress is a step in the right direction, no matter how big or small.
Q: What has been the best part about coaching?
A: The absolute best part of coaching is seeing the athletes grow, not only in their sport, but as individuals. Sports can teach you a lot about yourself. It can beat you up mentally, physically and emotionally, but it’s how you bounce back that matters most. The girls I’ve been able to work with are kids with great work ethic and great character.