No one on Spain’s basketball team is looking past Sunday’s World Cup final.
Certainly not Marc Gasol, who scored 33 points to lead the Spanish over Australia 95-88 in double overtime on Friday in the semifinals. Ricky Rubio scored 19 points and Sergio Llull added 17.
Spain will next face Argentina, which defeated France 80-66 in the other semifinal game.
Gasol won the NBA title a few months ago with the Toronto Raptors. And now he can do the double by winning with Spain, which won this title 13 years ago when it was called the world championship.
What would gold mean?
“Let’s talk about it Sunday,” replied Gasol, who played on the 2006 team with his brother Pau and current team member Rudy Fernandez. “Let’s see how it goes. I don’t want to lose a second thinking of what would be, what it would mean for us.”
He said his attention is on detail and preparing. Not celebrating. Not yet.
“Whenever the game is over, life will go on either way,” he said.
In case you wonder what is the secret to success for Spanish NT, Marc Gasol has a couple of words for you… <a href=”https://t.co/tDtD3jgRtJ”>pic.twitter.com/tDtD3jgRtJ</a>
It was two 3-point shots by Llull in the second overtime that pushed Spain to one of its largest leads of the game after trailing much of the time.
Patty Mills scored 34 to lead Australia with Nic Kay adding 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Australia will try again for a bronze medal in a major men’s basketball championship. The Boomers are 0-4 in third-place games in the Olympics — including three years ago in Rio de Janeiro — and had never reached the semifinals of the World Cup.
“The experience that we had in Rio — what it felt like to finish fourth. I have the confidence that this group will be able to be well and truly refocus,” Australia coach Andrej Lemanis said.
Spain trailed for much of the game but surged in the fourth quarter and took the lead 71-70 when Gasol hit two free throws with 8.7 seconds to play in regulation.
Mills had two free throws to win the game with 4.8 seconds to play, but he missed the second after making the first to send the game into overtime at 71-71.
Both teams had chances to win in regulation and in the first overtime, which ended 80-80.