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Ibaka Joins Real Madrid During Lockout

25 October 2011
BASKETBALL IN EUROPE

14. Serge Ibaka (Spain)
Serge Ibaka on the podium with his Spain teammates after the EuroBasket 2011 finalĀ 

Serge Ibaka swatted his way to EuroBasket fame this summer in Lithuania for Spain, helping the country capture a second straight gold medal in the competition.

Now, because of the NBA lockout, the 22-year-old has decided to pen a deal with Real Madrid.

The club announced his signing on Tuesday, strengthening their already formidable roster.

In a statement, Madrid said: "Real Madrid has reached an agreement with Serge Ibaka, the player will replace injured Novica Velickovic.

"The center, of the Oklahoma City Thunder, will remain at the club during the next two months, depending on the possible resolution of the NBA lock-out."

Ibaka had five blocks in the first half of Spain's gold-medal win over Spain in Lithuania.

A naturalized power forward from People's Republic of the Congo, Ibaka moved to Spain in his teens and played for Manresa.

The NBA lockout has been in effect since July 1, following the expiration of the old collective bargaining agreement.

Many players in the league have signed for clubs in Europe, including Ibaka's Spain teammate Rudy Fernandez.

A former star at Joventut Badalona, Fernandez is also playing for Real Madrid.

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