Good show, two competitive matches closed with victory, and an audience that has enjoyed the competitiveness of two teams united in a hashtag and that will return their visit to the Gauls on Saturday.
SelMAS: Spain responds with character to the increase in the 86-77 requirement
Everything is in order preparing for Spain on the way to Tokyo. With a magical base couple (Ricky and ‘Chacho’) they have defeated France at the Martín Carpena in Malaga, before returning the visit to the Gauls next Saturday and traveling to Las Vegas to face the United States.
A triple by Marc and a basket by Juancho to start a match in which Xabi López-Arostegui, Carlos Alocén and Álex Abrines did not dress, the latter due to minor physical discomfort. France put themselves in the hands of Fournier, who scored from the outside. Two dunks in a row, Marc and Willy forced to put the first time out with a 13-9 on the scoreboard for Carpena. Nets player Luwawu-Cabarrot scored eight consecutive points to get ahead (16-23) with Vincent Collet returning the coin to Sergio Scariolo. At the end of the first quarter, 21-24 for a very quality first ten minutes.
Sergio Rodríguez was combined with Ricky at the point guard, but France’s defensive balance prevented easy counterattacks and baskets. Abalde, from 6.75, returned the dominance to Spain (33-30) with the 3,000 spectators of the Carpena (the maximum allowed), enjoying and making themselves known. In the 12th minute Scariolo had brought out the 13 players available this Thursday, but the fourth was much more blocked than the previous one. The defenses increased their intensity and the game went into halftime with six points up for the Spanish (44-38).
The match had nothing to do with the two previous encounters. The level of demand of the rival was much higher and the defense did not allow easy baskets from the paint. Spain was more comfortable from the perimeter with Ricky Rubio taking offensive responsibilities. Nando de Colo took over the ‘blue’ command and France responded with the pride of playing the match against their great European rival. The fight for the rebound was even and the third quarter closed with a 21-20 partial and 65-58 on aggregate.
The last quarter began with the base relay. If Ricky would have shone in the third quarter, Sergio Rodríguez took over in the last. Imaginative passes, triples, and ‘jogo bonito’ to get the maximum with 5 minutes to go (78-66). Victory was close and only needed to be finished off.
SelFEM: Alba Torrens and the ‘new batch’ defeat France 72-61
A new lesson in competitiveness from a team that you always have to believe in. They had the most difficult opponent after Eurobasket and as the first stone in the preparation for the Games. Victory, great feelings and some players in top form.
The first quarter began with an Alba Torrens wanting the ball. He had to suffer a lot in the Valencia Eurobasket and as soon as he had the chance he risked in attack to put the first points on the Carpena scoreboard. France asked for a time-out after a triple by Maite Cazorla that neutralized the first French advantages (12-12). Two baskets from Ouviña put Spain ahead, but a triple at the limit of the quarter put it 16-15 after 10 minutes of play.
It was a head-to-head game between two well-known teams. Without margin to improvise and surprise Spain and France pulled their best tricks (Alba and Johannes) and thus the score advanced without any team dominating the situation. Miyem took over from Johannes to impose his physique in the paint, taking advantage of the youth of the Spanish centers and going to rest with a +4 (30-34).
That Spain is a team of character is an obvious fact. That it has a future, too. With a very young quintet, with the triple C (Cazorla-Conde-Carrera) at full capacity, Spain played a few good minutes, defending with intensity and attacking quickly, making French basketball uncomfortable. 53-53 with ten minutes to play and victory in the air.
The decisive minutes arrived, now with Laia and Alba on the track. Spain pressed in defense and Lucas Mondelo took advantage of María Conde’s appeal to the ‘four’ to get revenue from his pieces. The advantages were growing and the confidence was very great. France risked in attack but the Spanish defense prevented comfortable shots to certify victory.