I first met very young Pino Romano – born in 1973 – in the small gymnasium at JB Grassi Scientific High School in Latina. I was the head of Virtus Latina who was about to face Fondy Basketball in the Boys Cup. Next to me, a friend of the club founded Vittorio De Luca. After the usual pleasantries, the kind Vittorio told me: “Paolo, watch that boy heat up, his name is Pino Romano, training with us even though he is from Terracina. I expect a bright future for him, given his potential.” In fact, my friend was right. The challenge began on the field and I was amazed by a boy who reached just three dribbles from side to side on the field, amazed by his height and speed. It looked like a plane in flight. It was Massimo Mangano, Fabriano’s coach, who noticed the skills of Pino Romano who arrived in the town of Marche to be followed by one of the best Italian coaches at that moment. Massimo tried to improve on the already good individual fundamentals Pino who had already developed an excellent shot from the outside. When the original coach left Palermo Fabriano, the player signed an annual contract with Barra di Napoli and then moved to Taranto. The real turning point in Benno’s career came when he went to the United States, in Cleveland, to find some of his relatives who invited him. That summer, thanks to his brother Luca, he was in touch with coach Rick Pettino during a tournament at Scawry, at the helm of college training in Kentucky. Benno told him, “I’m going on vacation to Cleveland, and then I’d like to take an audition with his college education.” His passion for basketball immediately brought him to the Cleveland Athletic Hall. It is the administrative capital of Cuyahoga County in the state of Ohio. The city is located in the northeastern part of the state, on the southern shore of Lake Erie, about 100 kilometers west of the Pennsylvania border. It was founded in 1796 at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River and became an industrial center due to its location at the start of many waterways and railroads. One afternoon, in the height of summer, Benno went to shoot some shots – as is customary in the United States – quite freely on the student training ground. He was immediately invited to train and play the NCAA Championship. Cleveland residents of Italian descent immediately liked this big boy with a clean face and polite manners, so much so that they organized parties in his honor. The US experience was of fundamental importance to Pino, who from then on embarked on a journey that propelled him to play in Sweden, Austria and France. He also managed to take some exams at the College of Philosophy in the USA and then graduated with full marks in Perugia where he enrolled as soon as he finished high school. He learned English perfectly, so when he returned to Italy for a few days vacation, he never forgot his friends. I remember well when he came to visit me with his girlfriend Francesca Mixi to give me a beautiful diary from the NBA which I really appreciate and remain jealous. In the cold of Sweden, Pino played in the Premier League, always followed by his brother Luca who lives in Umea, after his successes in Sweden, he was hired in Austria playing in the important Saporta Cup facing the elite of European basketball: Partizan Belgrade – Ikralis Salonico – Alba Berlin. In neighboring France, he was then distinguished by the jersey of Reims and Chalon, always followed by his agent Luciano Capiccioni from the Republic of San Marino, a coach who made a real leap in quality in Italian basketball thanks to his constant ties to the sport. the world around the world. After leaving France, Pino Romano was called up by coach Ciani in Sassari. At that moment, at the age of thirty, he made the decision to quit senior basketball and think about a permanent job for the future. Choose a lifestyle that rewarded him. In the 2001/2002 season, Pino played in dual membership with Sassari and the promotional team Virtus Fondi who played in a final to reach the League D on the neutral pitch of the Fabiani gymnasium in Formia with Ponza. The Alponsisi, led by Pasquale Mason, obviously won, and the points from a distance and on the counterattack of the bomber to the base were not enough. From that moment on, the wonderful extraction of Virtus Basket Fondi, which appeared in the B2 series, began. When I chose to become the general manager of the rival club Fundy Basket, we played two beautiful city derbies, both of which won my team. The matches were so popular with the fans, that two thousand people were present in the gym for the second leg. The desire to organize events is in the head of our basketball travel companion daily, so much so that he came to host important coaching sessions and clinics in Fundy. I was present at the stage set up by Antonello Riva, dedicated to shooting, aimed at members of the Fondana club who dealt with the best Italian shooters ever holding the record for achievements in the Italian League.
Pino, at forty-eight years old, is one of the oldest active players in Italy. He co-stars with Virtus Fondi in the Gold C, a group that sees him as the protagonist along with American Hollis who, having left First Division, decides to play with Fondi while awaiting signature in forming a higher series. Beno certainly doesn’t live on memories, but he’s especially keen on putting aside newspaper clippings about basketball’s adventures around the world. Gazzetta dello Sport devoted half a page of an interview with him, realizing the maturity acquired by a boy who left the Italian province and had no problem playing in any formation: American and European. This experience then led to the creation of a company with his brother Luca, Virtus Fondi, whom this year Kony awarded him with the Bronze Medal for Sports Merit. The money in 2023 will be the “European City of Sports”, a prestigious acknowledgment of the Rossobleu club that has been tasked with organizing a small basketball camp for hundreds of basketball players. When it comes to Pino Romano, the name must be combined with his wife Francesca Micci, an enduring partnership: one for the other. Francesca also came from the basketball world after starting to play in Caserta led by my friend Romano Piccolo, a figure that everyone regrets under the royal palace. Many wonder why Virtus Fondi is associated with the name Oasi di Kufra. It has nothing to do with the North African world. The ad set is attached to the name of a famous hotel on the Sabadia coast. Twenty years ago, Benno met Dr. Rossi, the owner of the residence, and from that moment a deep friendship was born. In 2028 Romao got an invitation to the Italian Masters of Basketball by going to France to participate in the “Quadratour International Embarek Benmhedi”, an international preparatory tournament in light of the European Maribor Championships in Slovenia. The depth that has always been completely immersed in sports and social life, exudes passion, enthusiasm and humanity.
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