“It is one of the greatest teams in the history of Spanish sport”

The team celebrated at the Fonteta its qualification for the Games, which will be the sixth for its captain before his retirement. “I promised my father”

“Who doubted, who doubted? I don’t know anything, I just know that the team was confident,” Usman responded. Garubaalways as effusive and self-assured, as exuberant in celebration as he was on the court. The key factor in the final against Bahamas, ending the bleeding in the offensive rebound, putting two majestic blocks to mark territory. But the eyes were on Rudy Fernandez261 matches and 11 medals with Spain, of course. Perhaps it crossed someone’s mind that Sunday’s game at the Fonteta could be the last active game of a legend. But that was not in the captain’s plans. There was a promise to be kept. The Balearic player is already history: no basketball player has ever been (or will be?) in six Olympic Games.

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“It’s something I promised my father when he left me,” said Rudy yesterday, standing in the Fonteta when scario He was replaced with a few seconds left. Until then, the Caribbeans –Eric Gordon He protested in the press room about the number of free throws taken by both teams: Spain 25, Bahamas 13 – they did not give up. The forward was then able to rest and think about what lies ahead as he bids farewell to his unrivalled professional career. “It is the gene that the Family has and the gene that makes us continue to grow. I have been playing with the national team for two decades and it is what our veterans have passed on to us. We may have stars or not stars, but if we compete together and represent what we have in front of us we always tend to have beneficial things,” continued the Real Madrid player, who throughout the training camp has sent a message that has resonated with his teammates: “Don’t do it for me.”

The victory of the national team in a pre-Olympic tournament that is almost always a trap for the host country is also a morale boost for a group that was hit hard in the last World Cup. Aldamawho will imitate his father in the Games (he was in Barcelona 92), was one of the most excited. During the match he had more than words with the strong man Munnings and even hurt his ankle near the end. Afterwards, with the MVP in his hands, tears could be seen in his eyes. Shows of character from someone who is destined to be the leader of the future. “I have spoken with my father about this many times. It was my first dream as a child. It is an honour to wear this shirt and a privilege,” he commented in the press room.

The national team players celebrate their victory against the Bahamas. Alberto Saiz

There, at his side, Scariolo. For him, it will be his fourth Games, another myth. Mission accomplished. The coach did not want to think about the list of 12 that he will have to give to FIBA ​​today – and in which he can only make changes due to injury – and in which there will be Abrines and Juancho. Nor will they be in the ‘group of death’ that is coming up in the first phase of Lille. Spain will play the first match of the Games on Saturday 27th at 11am against Australia. Then there will be Greece -winner of the Pre-Olympic Games in Piraeus- and the feared Canada. Nothing to write home about.

The coach preferred to vindicate his boys, all of whom were above expectations. There were plenty of examples of what excites. The return of Lorenzo Brown (how much he was missed) in the majestic line of Eurobasket 2022, his connection with Willyin contrast to his mediocre performance at Barça, the defensive disposition of López-Arostegui -another one who couldn’t be in the World Cup- chasing like a hunting dog Buddy Hield. Pradillathe points from the bench of Brizuela… “I want to give credit to this group of players, it was extremely tough to play this second game in less than 24 hours. I appreciate the concentration they put in, the composure. They played for 40 minutes with very few lapses and we played a solid game on both sides of the court. It’s a final and it feels like we’ve won a title,” he reflected, and went on to say: “We may lose superstars, but in the meantime we have to compete with brutal cohesion. Being in this team is a privilege and the players are clear about that. It’s one of the greatest teams in the history of Spanish sport.”

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