Often teams owe their success not only to their top players, but to one back up who came from the bench in a crucial time, and saved his team from early elimination.
If Spain wins a medal in Riga a big part of it will belong to back up guard Marc Rubio.
The 193cm combo guard entered the court with his team down by ten points and only 12 minutes on the
clock to save the semi-finals ticket.
|Marc's little brother Ricky is already a member Spain's senior team.|
From that moment on the Spanish bull looked into the eyes of Russia, and fought with all its power.
Spain made a 22-2 run in which Rubio contributed ten points and four rebounds in addition to his known style - toughness and hard-nosed spirit.
Nobody can miss Rubio when he's on the court. He's pushing his team-mates, playing aggressive and not allowing his opponent a second to breathe.
Every positive play, by himself or a team-mate, will be followed by a big cheer, a scream or anything else that would feel right for that moment.
To notice Rubio is the type of player who fears nobody, was easy already from his debut in the ACB.
He was promoted to the senior team of powerhouse Joventut Badalona already at the age of 16.
One of the youngest players ever to do that in the history of the club, which promoted the great Rudy Fernandez only after he was 17.
Some young players in such position take a while to get used to the situation, but Rubio's first action on court with the senior team took a three pointer right away, although he wasn't open according to local testimonies. That shows a lot of character.
If his last name sounds familiar it's perhaps because of his brother - Ricky.
In an interview with fibaeurope.com Marc talks about growing up in a basketball family and the relationship with his sibling.
"He's my brother and I love him greatly," tells Marc.
"He's also my best friend. For me he's a very special basketball player. There nobody in the world who plays like him."
Marc and Ricky's father was a basketball coach in their home-town, and introduced them to the game from a very early age.
"We both started to play when we were four years old, but since I'm two years older I had some advantage over him."
Obviously the duo spent hours and hours in their back yard playing pickup games. Already at an early age it was possible to see they could play.
"We used to play a lot against each other. In the first years I still had an advantage but when Ricky was seven he beat me for the first time, so I understood I have a great challenge."
That tradition didn't stop and the two, who kept practicing with each other during the years, still work together in their free time.
"We practiced a lot together. Every time we had some free time, and even nowadays. Some things Ricky learned from me, and some I learned from him."
Having their father around their basketball career from day one had its own influence, and Marc shares what is the best lesson he and Ricky picked up from him.
"One of the most important things our father has taught us from a young age is that it's very important to play hard every day and not to listen to what people have to say."
Every minute you see Marc on court you know he has listened to his father.