Spain have advanced to their first semi-finals of the U20 European Championship Men since 2002 and already improved greatly on their struggles of 11th, 13th and 11th placed finishes over the past three summers.
One of the biggest reasons for the Iberians' undefeated push to the final against reigning champions Serbia is Spain's balance as a team.
Five Spanish players have averaged 10 plus points over the first seven games, with different guys stepping up each game.
In Spain's semi-final win Saturday over Russia, it was Javier Beiran. The 20-year-old Estudiantes Madrid small forward drained four three-pointers in scoring 14 points.
Beiran spoke to David Hein on behalf of FIBA Europe about the victory over Russia, Spain's past struggles and the senior national team.
FIBA Europe: Congratulations on making the final. What does this mean to you?
Beiran: Incredible. We've never played a final and now we have to beat Serbia. But it will be fantastic.
||If we play slow, sometimes it's very hard for us. We do better if we run
FIBA Europe: Russia were bigger than your team and dominated over the course of the first half. What did Coach Juan Antonio Orenga tell you about the size difference?
Beiran: We knew before the tournament that we were smaller than other teams because we really only have one big guy in Xavier Rey. So we know the guards and small forwards have to help out with the rebounds.
Maybe we didn't fight for all the balls early in the game. But in the third and fourth quarter we really showed we can fight. And then after the rebounds we were able to go and run. And that's what we have to do because we're smaller. If we play slow, sometimes it's very hard for us. We do better if we run.
FIBA Europe: Spain are reigning world champions and EuroBasket 2007 title aspirants at the senior level. How much inspiration does the U20 team get from the senior team?
Beiran: We looked at the national team and said we needed to do the same or try at least. So we had a little more motivation to do the best.
FIBA Europe: After finishing the past three U20 events in 11th, 13th and 11th places, how much pressure did the team have coming into the tournament?
Beiran: Only our pressure. People didn't think we would do anything because the last teams did not play in the semi-finals. So this year we tried to demonstrate to all the people that we are a very good team. And that we can do great things.
FIBA Europe: Xavier Rey turned 20 years old on Friday. This semi-final victory was probably the perfect present.
Beiran: On Thursday we went to dinner to celebrate going to the semi-finals and we gave him a little present. But this (victory) is a lot better than the little present he got from us.
FIBA Europe: Looking forward to Sunday's final against Serbia, what does Spain need to do to win?
Beiran: We have to play just like we have in all the games. We are not an individual player. We don't have a great player who scores 30 points every day. There is always someone who scores 15 and others who score 10. We have five players who average 10 points throughout the tournament. So we are a team and have to play like a team.
FIBA Europe: This summer, the EuroBasket is in your native Spain. How do you plan on spending your September?
Beiran: We will take holiday first, because we really need it - maybe 10, 15 days. And then after that, since the tournament is in Spain, we are going to try to go as often as we can to help as much as possible.