Perhaps Spain has not impressed like Doncic’s Slovenia; but it has emerged strengthened from an uncomfortable match against the host of the Games, who had just won in preparation for France. Ricky has shown his great level of play, with Sergio Rodríguez showing that the base position is very well covered. Pau, Marc and Willy command respect in the paint, and Víctor Claver performs on both sides of the track, always adding up. Without excesses, Spain presents its credentials on a track with great memories for #LaFamilia.
Spain came out very concentrated, with the usual quintet of the World Cup (with the only change of Abalde by Juancho in the position of ‘three’). Marc Gasol he distributed the game from the high position, posted and scored from the central triple. Ricky was running to make it 2-11 in minute 4 and cause the first time-out of Julius lamas, the technician of the Japanese. The first rotations meant the fifth Games of Pau and the first of Usman Garuba.
The defense read Japan’s attack perfectly, but Spain got stuck offensively and the score was equalized. A basket by Pau and a triple by Sergio Rodríguez restored the tranquility. Spain was comfortable with the exchange of blows. A Togashi bomb closed the first quarter with a 14-18 that did not indicate the dominance of these first minutes of those of Sergio Scariolo.
The second quarter began with the confidence of the Japanese very high, who did damage in the offensive rebound and with Rui hachimura successful from the center shoots. A triple from the Wizards made it 26-26 and caused a timeout of Sergio Scariolo, which asked to score the outside shots. A turning point in the encounter, with Spain capable of defending very intelligently and attacking brilliantly. With Garuba picking up all the bounces, and Ricky Rubio in command, the Spanish team signed a partial 0-19 that put a reassuring 26-45 and left the +20 in passing through the changing rooms.
Japan came back from the break with the fear of the previous five minutes, and chose to lead the meeting with a calmer pace. Abrines warmed up the wrist and Ricky he was still in MVP mode, scoring and assisting with ease. Pau He made the minutes on the track profitable, motivating his teammates despite the difference in the scoreboard. Japan scored more easily and with some theft of the ball reduced from +24 to +13 at the end of the third quarter (56-69).
Scariolo worked on the mental aspect to avoid complications, but at the same time he continued with the rotations on the track. The entrance of Xabi López-Arostegui, newcomer to Tokyo, he completed the roster of 12 players who entered the game, with Victor Claver (13 + 9) as the player with the longest time on the court (22 minutes). Ricky Rubio (20 points and 9 assists) was the most valuable, with a great contribution from Marc Gasol (12 and Alex Abrines (eleven). In the end there were 11 points of advantage before the Argentina game next Thursday.