With the help of players from different colonial outposts, Real Madrid managed to win three Castilla Championships between 1942 and 1944. It was the first period during which the team really dominated. Already established as one of the references of Spanish basketball, the Whites were missing something in order to be truly dominant. And that was about to come.
Basketball was late coming to Spain, but the Civil War delayed its full implementation even further. When the fighting stopped, Real Madrid and Rayo resumed their rivalry. With the latter going defunct in the early 1940s, brothers Pedro and Emilio Alonso along with their cousin Claudio moved across town to join the Whites. From sworn enemies to powerful allies.
The Alonsos, who were originally from Cuba, were hugely important for Real Madrid as the team won three Castilla Championships (1942, 43 and 44). The club repeated that success at the end of the decade with another three Castilla Championships (1948, 49 and 50), and thereby cemented its status as central Spain’s basketballing superpower. There was still more to come.
REINFORCEMENTS FROM OVERSEAS
A lot of the star players during this period were either from or descended from the Philippines, Cuba and Puerto Rico. These children of emigrants, who moved to Madrid to go to university, had an advantage in terms of playing basketball. Given that the sport was invented and developed in the USA and Canada, it arrived to the aforementioned countries, which had stronger ties with North America, sooner than Spain. Juan Castellví, Edy Hernández-Villamil and Kaimo were Filipino. Freddy Borrás was Puerto Rican. Pedro, Emilio and Claudio Alonso were born in Cuba to Basque parents. These players helped secure the club’s first titles.
THE WOMEN’S TEAM, ALSO SUCCESSFUL
In 1934 Real Madrid inaugurated a new part of the club, the women’s basketball team. During this time women had a league of their own. The female game was initially played with some slightly different rules: six players instead of five, a court divided into three zones, access to which was dependent on the player’s position, and a restriction of only one bounce of the ball at a time. The Real Madrid women's team won the Castilla Championship in its founding year. In 1943, as well as lifting the Castilla Championship, the team finished runner-ups in Spain. However, the team disbanded in 1944.