Waiting Game, Spain Better Croatia

09 August 2007

By Daniel Aubrey

Spain overcame Croatia 89-78 in Group F and now await the result of the Serbia-Lithuania game this evening to learn their fate regarding qualification for the semi-finals.

Pablo Aguilar, Pere Tomas and Sergio De La Fuente all scored well again with 24, 20 and 16 points respectively, while Ricky Rubio had trouble finding his range, notching just three points all game but weighing in with an important seven steals.

Pablo Aguilar (Spain)
Pablo Aguilar got Spain off to a good start with 14 first quarter points.
A number of players shone for the brave Croatian side, the pick of the bunch being Mario Delas with 23 points and Karlo Vragovic with 20.

At the start the Spanish side got on with the business of running up a big lead early on, leading by 16 points at one stage in the game, and doing so in style.

Stand out plays included a steal and round the back pass from Rubio to De La Fuente for him to lay it up and in with 3:32 remaining in the first.

Then Jose Antonio Marco found Xavier Rabaseda with a great inside pass for him to reverse lay up before later adding a great block at the other end to keep the big distance intact at 34-21.

Aguilar was already scoring well with 14 points in this quarter, missing just two shots in 10.

In the second the scrappy scenes of yesterday’s game threatened to re-emerge when De La Fuente got into an altercation with Vragovic which earned him a sharp word in his ear from coach Luis Guil.

Croatia threatened to come back slightly, but never drew closer than to within nine points before an Aguilar dunk ended the half with Spain 55-44 ahead.

The Croatians fought back bravely again in the third quarter, Vragovic and Delas leading the comeback with eight and six points each to bring their side within five going into the last phase with the score 73-68.

But an 8-0 run from Spain at the start of the final quarter, including another impressive Aguilar dunk, killed off any real hopes for the Croatian side and Spain ran out winners again.

“We were tired today”, explained coach Guil.

“Ricky has played lots of minutes and we needed the other boys to step up and they did well, but you could tell at the end that his was a hard win for us”.


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