Spain falls on their feet: Canada denies medals to the U19

The Selection directed by Javier Zamora falls in the quarterfinals in a match that came one point away in the last period. The inner game, key.

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There was the quality, the illusion and the claw. Everything necessary to complete the assault, but, finally, he refused. The National Team will not be in the fight for the medals of the U19 World Cup. By the hair. By a final loaded with tension and determined by a balance that could have been decanted towards either side. Cross came out, but the future is yours. Rubén Domínguez, who, in another exhibition, finished with 21 points; Milan Jiménez, with 17 points, 9 rebounds and a PIR of 24; by Rubén López de la Torre (10) or Juan Núñez (11). Of each and every one of the members of the team led by Javier Zamora. Gloria denied (81-77), but only for now. Ahead, they had a giant. One that also multiplies on the track. Canada has traditionally been the cradle of good basketball. Now, in addition, he had a monstrous, intimidating inner game, very hard physically. In front, Zach Edey, a 19-year-old and 2.22-meter-tall center who was the lord and master of the area. 24 + 15 for a 35 stratospheric rating. Behind him, Caleb Houstan (25 + 6 + 3). Of the rest, Nana Owusu-Anane was the only one capable of breaking the double-digit barrier, but they didn't need more. The 46 points in the painting, by the 28 Spaniards, are clairvoyant. They do not cheat on the first reading of the game; one that, however, was not decided until the last gasp.

Canada, punishing the aforementioned inside game, had, with less than four minutes, the biggest difference of the match (71-65). Yes, six points. Synonymous with extreme equality, but also with war and nerves. The negative income was extended to seven points; but it was far from the sentence. Héctor Alderete, with two majestic actions, refused to raise the white flag and Núñez, in the final attempt to rebel, accompanied him: 77-75 with 50 seconds to go. Tremendous effort, charged with the future, but cruelly rejected by the present. With 15 seconds remaining, the difference was still two points, but the feat had already exhausted its cards. Broken illusion after a commendable deployment and that, until the end, could find a reward.

The marker looked like an immovable stone. Like Stonehenge, like the heaviest monolith you can imagine. It usually happens when creativity, but also fundamentals and intensity, start from similar places. A brilliant pass from Guillem Ferrando to Jiménez opened the scoring and those same two points gave Spain the slightest advantage at halftime (37-39). One with 10 changes of leader behind him and an equality so high that he even reached the points after loss (9 and 9). To the last statistic on the blade, to the last recess of a clash of great talents, but also of young hunger, the most insatiable. The ultimate advantage? Five point. For whom? For both sets. The initial 7-2 was the biggest pull for Canada and the 32-37, two minutes before the end of the second quarter, that of Spain. Along the way, baskets of all colors and enough tricks, on both sides, to convince the electronic, undecided before two such succulent offers. That were repeated. In the third quarter, the Canadians, asserting their superiority on the inside, again stretched to the allowed limit (54-49), but the set, again, ended with Javier Zamora's men a little step, literally, ahead (58 -59) .

It was wanted to enforce, but it was insufficient. As soon as the final act began, De la Torre showed muscles after a triple loaded with intentions (58-82) and, on the next play, the defensive aids stopped the Edey trailer. Surely the right formula. One that, today, was not sure of anything. As academically precise as it is weak in the face of opposing possibilities, on a par with one's own. Without rest, the pivot himself was able to crush unceremoniously and Houstan to score from long distance (63-62). After Ferrando's triple and two hits from Caleb himself from the line (65-65), he started again. And again. Now, however, with just over five minutes to go. A mini-game to decide the pass to the semifinals of the world championship. Some that, cruelly, Spain will not dispute, but that could have disputed if fortune, in the final attempts, had allied. He did not want. Canada goes to the fight for the medals, where it waits for Senegal or the United States; but Spain does not slow down. There will be a rematch, for sure.



Photos from as.com
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