The story appears on

Page A13

September 22, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Sports » Basketball

Spain captures European crown

PAU Gasol scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead world champion Spain to a 85-63 win over Serbia in the European championship final on Sunday.

The victory in Poland gives Spain its first ever European title after six runner-up finishes, and was extra sweet for Gasol, who had to settle for silver at the 2003 and 2007 editions of the tournament.

"It was a great game, and obviously we won the final that we lost twice before this year, so I'm extremely happy and it's an unforgettable day for us," Gasol said. "We just worked so hard to win this championship and I'm just super proud of my teammates."

Two years after losing in the final in the closing seconds, Spain made sure to take care of business early this year.

The Spaniards dominated from start to finish on both ends of the court, playing pressure man-to-man defense, cleaning up on the boards and pushing the tempo for fast break baskets to jump to a 15-point first quarter lead.

Serbia would never recover from the early onslaught.

"We lost the first half, and probably the game was finished," Serbia coach Dusan Ivkovic said. "The Spanish team was better and they deserved absolutely this title."

Spain dropped its opener to Serbia 57-66 and a second round game to Turkey. That loss prompted the team to change its attitude and raise its level of play.

"We were aware of our individual quality, but we weren't playing as well or as good as we should have collectively," Gasol said. "So we sat down, and were like it's now or never, we have to react, we have to work together, we have to start having fun playing, playing with enthusiasm. And it just clicked."

The team went on to win its final five games by an average of 21.2 points.

"At the beginning we were a little bit concerned, but with hard work and great commitment from players we got to be an excellent defensive team, and we showed it in the last games," Spain coach Sergio Scariolo said.

Serbia, a surprise finalist, had the youngest team at the tournament with an average age of 22.4, and for the first time at the championship it showed against Spain.

"Maybe this final came a little bit early for this team," Ivkovic said. "We don't have this kind of experience, but we don't have any reason to be disappointed."

Earlier, Greece slipped past Slovenia 57-56 to win the bronze medal.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend