The best Spanish national basketball team put together in recent times stormed to victory in the final of the EuroBasket 2015 championship on Sunday night, beating Lithuania 80-63.
After its convincing win against France in the semifinals, Spain was riding high with confidence. The team went on the attack and also put up a cast-iron defense, denying the Baltic side any chances.
SPAIN 80; LITHUANIA 63
Spain: Llull (12), Pau Ribas (5), Rudy Fernández (11), Mirotic (8), Pau Gasol (25) - first team -; Sergio Rodríguez (4), Felipe Reyes (8), Claver (7), San Emeterio (0), Hernángómez (0), Aguilar (0) and Vives (0)
Lithuania: Kalnietis (13), Seibutis (13), Maciulis (8), Jankunas (3), Valanciunas (10) - first team -; Kavaliauskas (4), Javtokas (0), Gailius (1), Kuzminskas (8) and Milaknis (3).
Referees: Lamonica (Italy), Belosevic and Ryzhyk (Ukraine). They expelled Valanciunas for personal fouls (m.36),
Pierre Mauroy Stadium in Lille. 27,372 spectators.
The Spain team assembled by coach Sergio Scariolo was more effective than ever, led by an outstanding Pau Gasol. The 35-year-old NBA star brought his sensational tournament to an end with 25 points and 12 rebounds. Also worthy of mention was Real Madrid’s Rudy Fernández, who moved like lightning on the court until injury forced him off the court in the third quarter.
But the wheels were not about to come off the machine, and the substitutions worked perfectly. Before long the game turned into a countdown for confirmation of the third European title for Spain. The Lithuanians became increasingly desperate and couldn’t find the points they needed, opting to shoot for three-pointers.
But nothing the Lithuanian team could come up with was enough to come close to their rival.
The achievements of the Spanish team are now many, with three European golds – all three won in the last six years – as well as the 2006 World Championship. The team reached excellence in 2001, and since then has notched up a total of 10 medals – including two Olympic silvers, which are worth their weight in gold thanks to two finals played against USA and its plethora of stars.
Pau Gasol and his teammates are now dreaming of a third final against the American team that the NBA will be sending to the Olympics in Rio 2016. The challenge is on once more.