As Spanish players celebrated their 92-83 bronze medal game victory over Turkey at center court, a misty eyed Marc Rubio pointed toward heaven to pay tribute to his fallen friend, Guillem Raventos.
Raventos, who died in a motorcycle accident yesterday, took part in the Spanish team’s preparations and was a team-mate of Rubio with DKV Joventut.
|Baris Hersek (Turkey) and Victor Claver (Spain) try to control the jump ball.|
“I have known him for five or six years and he was a good friend of mine,” said Rubio.
“I wanted to win this game for my friend.”
“He was a very nice kid and a good teammate,” commented Spanish coach Luis Guil.
Despite the tragedy, Spain played inspired basketball and a key third quarter run allowed them to lift the bronze medal.
Trailing 44-42 at halftime, Guil and Co. outscored Turkey 23-11 in the third quarter.
Pablo Aguilar, who scored 25 points for the game, hit a three-pointer as third quarter came to an end giving his side a 63-55 lead.
The two teams went back and forth in the fourth quarter, but Spain had an answer for each Turkey run and key baskets from Aguilar in the game’s final minutes wrapped up the bronze medal for the Spanish.
“We played great defense, not like yesterday, and were playing up-tempo and doing the things we needed to win,” said Guil.
Victor Claver came up with another big performance for Spain, scoring 21 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Pere Tomas finished with 20.
“This is incredible,” said Spain’s Richard Nguema.
“No one even thought that we would get out of our group and today we won a medal.”
Turkey got 20 a piece from Ismet Hacioglu and Mehmet Arif Sahan.