Piratas de Quebradillas
|Piratas de Quebradillas|
|Nickname||Bucaneros del Guajataca|
|Arena||Raymond Dalmau Coliseum
|Location||Quebradillas, Puerto Rico|
|Team colors||Red and Black
|President||Felix "Felo" Rivera|
|Head coach||Carlos Calcaño|
|Championships||5 (1970, 1977, 1978, 1979, 2013)|
The Piratas de Quebradillas (lit. "Quebradillas Pirates") is a Puerto Rican basketball team, part of the National Superior Basketball League. Founded in the mid 1920s, it is one of the original teams of the league. The club enjoyed its most successful era during the 1970s, when they won 4 championships -including a three in a row- and participated in 6 league finals. However, after the 2004 season the team suffered from financial problems which prevented them from participating for the following five seasons. They club returned to active competition in 2009 with new players and a new arena as well as a trip to the league finals.
The Piratas are known for their loyal fan-base and extremely loud home games. After 34 years in 2013 they won the BSN Championship against los Leones de Ponce in the sixth game of the serie.
The Piratas de Quebradillas basketball club was founded in 1926 and was one of the original founding teams of the Puerto Rican Basketball League. Among its early star players where Quiro Santiago, Manuel "Lolo" González, Teíque Linares, Rafael "Nenito" Deliz and Manuel de Regla "Varilla" Lugo. The team participated in the 1937 season finals, but the next three decades where characterized by poor performances during the tournaments. This changed by the end of the 1960s when a new batch of Puerto Rican players born in New York where signed by the team. ′
The Dalmau Era (1969 - 1986)
In 1966 Quebradillas signed Raymond Dalmau who became rookie of the year and in 1969 Neftali Rivera who also became the rookie of the year. Both would go on to become legends in Puerto Rican Basketball, known as the dynamic duo. Together, these two players led the team to its first team championship during the 1970 season. This encarnation of the team was coached by Eric Geldhart.
The dominance of Quebradillas Pirates continued during the 1970s, including 8 trips to the league finals. However, they were defeated in the finals by the Vaqueros de Bayamon in 1972, 1973 and 75 and by Rio Piedras Cardinals in 1976. However, Quebradillas won the title again in 1977 through 1979 for a total of 8 finals in the 10 years of the 1970 decade. To this day, the 1979 championship was last won by Quebradillas. They would go on to lose their next 6 finals appearances; 1981, 1982, 1999, 2000, 2009 and 2011.
Rivera was traded to the Leones de Ponce following the 1981 season. However, Raymond Dalmau went on to finish his career in Quebradillas in 1985, and subsequently developed into a professional basketball coach.
Following the retirement of Dalmau, Quebradillas struggled to keep their presence as a dominant team in the league. With players like Orlando Vega and Jimmy Ferrer, the team managed to make several postseason runs, but they never made it to the league finals. Raymond Dalmau himself coached the team on several occasions.
During the 1988 season, Quebradillas was coached by future NBA legendary coach Phil Jackson who, at that time, had not yet found a contract with any NBA teams. After a poor season start, Quebradillas fired coach Jackson, who later went on to win 11 NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Second Dalmau Era and Financial Crisis
It would be the two sons of Raymond Dalmau which would return the Piratas to their former glory. Richie and Ricardo Dalmau led the team to two consecutive BSN finals in 1999 and 2000. However, the team lost both finals to the Cangrejeros de Santurce which were led by NBA players José Ortíz and Carlos Arroyo.
After these finals appearances, Quebradillas continued to be a competitive team, reaching the league semi-finals in several occasions. However, the team confronted financial problems at the end of the 2003 season which led the league to declare every Quebradillas player a free agent. The financial problems where mostly attributed to the fact that the team played in a small 1,500 seat arena which hindered their capabilities to obtain significant financial endorsements.
The team played during the 2004 seasons with mostly amateur players and finished the season with a league-worst 5-25 record.
Return to Success
The municipality of Quebradillas committed to the construction of a new arena which was finalized in 2008. This new arena was named after Raymond Dalmau and it permitted the team to return to active league competition. Owner Carlos Rodríguez bought the rights to the Criollos de Caguas players and brought them to Quebradillas. Among them was current Puerto Rican National Team center Peter John Ramos. Former Connecticut Huskies star point guard Marcus Williams joined the team as well as Australian forward Shawn Redhage. Also, former Florida Gator David Huertas declined participating in his last NCAA season to join the team.
The team went on to finish with a 22-8 record, second best on the league. They advanced to the league finals for the first time since 2000 against their legendary rivals, the Vaqueros de Bayamon. Quebradillas would lose the series in 6 games. The team continued in a successive streak, reaching the finals again during the 2011 season, but lost in five games to the Capitanes de Arecibo.
In 2012, Quebradillas was bought by new owner Felix Rivera. The new ownership has made a series of changes in personnel, and for the 2013 season acquired the rights to NBL stars Shawn Redhage and Kevin Lisch. On July 29, 2013, Quebradillas won (89-72) the final game of the 2013 final series in a six game duel against Leones de Ponce. The win gave Quebradillas' its 5th championship in the team's history.
Piratas de Quebradillas roster