The impossible gold was made flesh in Berlin to finish off the biggest surprise in the history of the Spanish team. Any grandiloquent term used to define this feat will do justice to what has been experienced and will probably even fall short. Because the team that seemed more earthy has ended up doing something supernatural: giving France a bath in the final (88-76) and conquering what is considered the best Eurobasket in history. It is the fourth continental gold for Spain. An epic that would give to write books or movie scripts. You will have to make do with this modest chronicle, the last of a memorable tournament.
Spain had to overcome calamities in the form of withdrawals, resignations and injuries. He lacked the great stars of other teams, but he had 12 impossible skippers who have behaved like a huge team in the hands of Sergio Scariolo and played for all the myths of the past.
This group has a winning DNA that is passed from generation to generation regardless of the names. Now Juancho Hernangómez’s men rule, author of seven triples, six of them in an unforgettable second quarter. Like Pau’s 40 points, Navarro’s one-legged triples… Jaime Fernández’s, who hadn’t scored a single point in the last three games and scored 13 in the final as well as recovering balls like crazy. Those of Garuba and Alberto Díaz, defensive bastions. Those of Willy, MVP of the championship, and Brown (11 assists), the society of the new era. Everyone’s.
As if this group had played infinite finals, their staging was sensational, especially in defense. A wonderful choreography of changes and aids that made his rival crazy. The Spaniards touched balls, recovered them and reached everything. The tactical bath from Scariolo to Collet was vintage. Jaime Fernández left his best minutes of the tournament for the final: five points, three steals and an assist in seven minutes. Together with a Willy who did not flinch against Gobert, he put Spain up 11 (18-7) before leaving the second unit, which continued to overwhelm.
Juancho appeared in it, who at the beginning of the second act missed the first triple he launched. It must have been to adjust the sight, because then he went into a trance typical of the best shooter: 6/7 in just six minutes, including four in a row. It was already the record of his career, he equaled the second best mark in a Eurobasket and a substitute had never scored like that.
Didn’t the national team need triples? There they were, on the most opportune day. He came to accumulate an 8/11 and at the end, 15/31. To rub your eyes. This is how Spain shot up to a 21-point lead (47-26, min 18). A cyclone hit the Mercedes Benz Arena. But he subsided just before the break. France clung to the clash with a 0-11 run led by Fournier. He reached the locker room alive (47-37).
The growing gala continued in the second half and the partial, with Yabusele as a stiletto, reached 2-20 that opened the box for the ghosts (49-46). Now it was Spain that was disconcerted. Until Scariolo called for a timeout that revitalized the team. The adrenaline was put by Jaime Fernández, who added five points and a steal in a 9-0 run that restored some calm. But France had managed to get him to leave where before there was a monologue. At the end of the third quarter, 66-57 after a block shot by Garuba to Okobo.
The team tempered the game in the final period with an imperial Garuba in defense. She didn’t get nervous even with a controversial move that ended Scariolo’s technique. Juancho scored his seventh triple and the presence of Brown and Díaz at the same time was once again decisive. Between the two they scored 10 points in a row while the redhead bordered on perfection in defense. A triple of his with 1:33 to go secured the title (85-70).
There was no better climax for his particular fairy tale. Not even for the Spanish team, who took his gold the most unexpected of all time. Almost a movie story.