Berlin, Sep 19 (EFE).- A hero’s welcome awaits the Spanish men’s basketball team Monday as they return from Germany as European champions having clinched gold with a 88-76 victory over France in the final.
The fairytale ending to this year’s EuroBasket saw Sergio Scariolo’s men tame this year’s Olympic silver medalists with an impressive display by Juancho Hernangómez of the Toronto Raptors, who captured 27 points.
It was Spain’s first Eurobasket title since 2015 and its fourth overall, and the team did it in style against an experienced rival with notable NBA players such as Rudy Gobert and Evan Fournier in its ranks.
Spain was commanded by the Hernangómez brothers – Willy finished up with 14 points and eight rebounds at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.
In fact Spain has become something of a kryptonite to the French, who have lost 18 times in 22 games against their neighbor on the European stage.
Aware of France’s superiority – on paper –, Scariolo played an open court in the opening stages and charged Willy with the job of pulling the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Gobert center out of his comfort zone. Willy, who plies his NBA trade with the New Orleans Pelicans, finished the first quarter with 10 points on the board.
Spain’s defense had things covered, too, with special mention going to Jaime Fernández.
In the second quarter a hurricane by the name of Juancho Hernangómez dazzled the Mercedes Benz Arena with six three-pointers.
However, by minute 24, France managed to close the gap to 49-46. It did not last.
Scariolo called time out. Three minutes later, Spain was up 61-48, a lead that inched up to 88-76 by the final buzzer. EFE