By: Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
After a series of heartbreaks, the Spanish basketball team finally clinched a gold medal in their international basketball outing after crushing Argentina, 95-75, in the finals of the FIBA World Cup.
The powerhouse Spanish team finished with a disappointing bronze medal in the 2016 Olympics and failed to clinch a medal as hosts of the 2014 FIBA World Cup.
With their FIBA success seemingly on a downward trend, the team refused to let go of their core and continued to rely on Marc Gasol, Rudy Fernandez, and Ricky Rubio. Rubio first joined the team as a young 17-year old point guard but now has blossomed into a big-time player, winning the MVP award to help his team win the gold.
On the other hand, nobody expected Argentina to be in the finals.
A team led by ex-NBA veteran in Luis Scola and no other NBA player, every analyst predicted Argentina not even making it to the semifinals, but off they went, upsetting the big French team in the semis courtesy of Scola’s heroics.
The Argentinian team, expected to be the underdogs in their finals match, but with wins against Serbia and France under their belts forced Spain to take them seriously.
Basic fundamental basketball ripped the Argentinian team apart against Spain, as the Spaniards’ familiarity and chemistry with each other was on full-display with no-look passes to cutters and beautifully executed offensive sets converted into easy baskets.
Scola, the hero in both the quarterfinals and the semifinals for Argentina was held to only 8 points by the tough interior defense of Spain.
Gabriel Deck was a revelation for the Argentinians, top-scoring the team with 24.
Ricky Rubio led the Spanish team with 20 points and 7 boards.