By Eurohoops team / firstname.lastname@example.org
Spain’s experienced core didn’t break against a feisty Australia and survived a double-overtime to return to the final of FIBA World Cup after 13 long years with a 95-88 victory. Australia had a great chance to make history and showcased impressive athleticism for 50 minutes, though when Sergio Llull stepped foot in the second OT, things turned out in Spain’s favor.
“We fight until the end, we’ve learned a lot from Juan Carlos Navarro, Pau Gasol, Felipe Reyes and other players that are not here. We reached something major for us”, commented Llull.
Llull, who was decisive in the second extra five-minute quarter, finished the game with a total of 17 points. However, Marc Gasol was the pillar for Sergio Scariolo’s team with an absolutely dominant performance throughout the game, leading to 33 points, six rebounds and four assists.
Gasol helped his team get ahead for the first time in the second half with a pair of free throws (71-70) and 8.7 seconds on the shotclock, until Mills sent the game to overtime with 1/2 free throws made. In the extra five-minute period, the two teams fought head to head, with their efforts ending once again even, heading to the second OT.
Long before that, Spain trimmed the deficit to 65-67 with three minutes remaining, though a foul by Hernangomez and a turnover by Rubio let the Boomers get ahead again by 5 points. The multi-experienced Spanish internationals gave it all for a great defense with only 28 seconds left in the game and regained possession with the chance to head to the final.
What an epic battle it was. Patty Mills finished with 32 points, while Nick Kay posted a double-double for Australia with 18 points and 11 rebounds, though in the end, Spain’s quality and strength could not be overthrown.
Photo credit: FIBA.basketball