September 23, 2019
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Spain reaches basketball world cup final after win over Australia

Beijing, Sep 13 (efe-epa).- Spain beat Australia and went through to the Basketball World Cup final in China after a double overtime Friday.

The Spanish team under coach Sergio Scariolo will play the final on Sunday at 20:00 local time, 12:00 GMT, against the winner of the Argentina-France match.

A thrilling finale saw the Spaniards defeat Australia 95-88 after two extensions, and in which Marc Gasol, with 33 points, six rebounds and four assists, had a decisive role in the comeback.

Spain’s attack got stuck after the second quarter and the team struggled to save a semifinal that had got complicated due to Patty Mills, who scored 34 points and was determined to take revenge for what happened in the Rio Games, when the Spanish team deprived them of bronze.

The defense began squeezing as the occasion demanded, Australia gave the impression of entering the final, but that image lasted only a few minutes.

They had to resort to Mills and Matthew Dellavedova to engage in a game that had at that time a clear protagonist.

Juancho hooked two three-pointers and, having scored eight of the first 11 points, kept Spain ahead.

As expected, each attack was decisive.

Nobody gave anything away and that translated into a scoreboard with small advantages on both sides.

This led to the end of the first quarter that culminated in the specialty of Sergio Llull, a three-pointer at the buzzer, which gave Spain a slight advantage of 22-21.

Despite stopping Mills and having a better start than other days, the Europeans stopped adding points to their scoreboard.

They found no way to break the spider web woven by the Australians and, after almost four minutes without scoring, Scariolo had to ask for time to try to get his team back in the game.

It was Australia’s time, the players knew how to take advantage of that lethargy to strike again and again the permeable defensive line of the opponent.

Spain held on to Ricky Rubio, the only one who seemed to have his sights set somewhat in the semifinal.

Spain was making mistakes, with a 32% success rate in field shots and no three-pointers scored in eight attempts in the second quarter, Scariolo's squad went to the locker rooms with a lot of work pending for the second half.

The Australians returned to the court with energy-giving three-pointers from Mills and Aron Baynes. The point guard of the San Antonio Spurs seemed to wake up, which meant only bad news for Spain.

There was a lack of freshness in the attack and failed shots took away confidence in the rearguard and the advantages became bigger and bigger.

Again the Spanish technical team had to stop the game.

The attacks were not elaborate and mistakes plunged the team into a sea of ??doubts until, many minutes later, a three-pointer by Llull helped Spain dream Sunday's final again.

When everything seemed more balanced, Andrej Lemanis' players took advantage of a couple of defensive offsets to stretch the score.

Again it was Marc Gasol, the center of the Toronto Raptors, who brought back the possibility to win the game for Spain. With just 8.7 seconds left, he scored two free throws that put the score at 71-70.

Gasol continued to play his leading role.

Five points from him at the start of extra time encouraged the team, although Mills was still on a roll and Australia got back into the game.

Claver, from medium distance, Llull, with a new three-pointer, and Gasol under the hoop, began to lay the base for the victory of the Spanish team, which was doing things in the most decisive moments.

Australia stopped dead and Llull repeated from the perimeter to finish a 10-2 run that gave Spain a ticket to the grand final.

Spain knew how to control the situation and climbed one more step on its way to the title. Scariolo's team will have on Sunday another opportunity to touch the sky in Asia. EFE-EPA


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