Spain advance to Semi-Finals after stern Angola test

Willy had a great game

Hosts less than convincing, but now look ahead to Saturday’s Semi-Finals.

VALENCIA (Spain) – Spain were pushed all the way before securing their spot in the Semi-Finals with an 89-81 success against Angola.

Sergio Scariolo’s side were far from their best, but it was also a valiant effort from the team from Africa as they fought hard for a major scalp.

The turning point

Santi Aldama’s layin early in the second quarter put Spain up 28-19 as they threatened to pull away, but Angola refused to go away and made some big plays late in the half to get back to within a single point.

Despite an 8-0 run in the third that established a double-digit cushion for the first time, Spain still could not put their opponents away for good. It needed another burst in the fourth with important triples from Jaime Pradilla and Rudy Fernandez.

TCL Player of the Game

Willy Hernangomez quietly went about his business and had already recorded a double-double shortly after half-time. The FIBA EuroBasket 2022 MVP finished with a solid 22 points and 10 rebounds to help ensure Spain avoided an almighty upset.

Aldama top scored with 24 points to go with eight rebounds, while Lorenzo Brown dished out 11 assists – only the fourth player to do so in the modern OQT era.

Stats don’t lie

Free throws, free throws, free throws. Angola will definitely know they left some points at the line – missing 12 of their 21 attempts. Meanwhile, Spain were 4-of-18 from beyond the arc through three quarters – then went 4-of-5 in a spell in the fourth.

Bottom line

Moral victories do not mean much in a tournament like this, but Angola will surely take a great deal of heart from their performance. It doesn’t change the fact that their game with Lebanon was always likely to be a decider for a Semi-Finals spot – yet confidence will be high.

Spain did what they had to, and were expected to do, by taking two wins in two days, and now have an opportunity to recover (both Juancho Hernangomez and Juan Nunez did not play) and plan for a Semi-Finals encounter with either Poland or Finland.

They said:

“It was a good game, it was a hard-fought game. We came out with the intention to compete. We tried to use our energy and athleticism as much as we could to make it an even game. Credit to Spain – well-coached team and did really well down the stretch.” Angola center, Bruno Fernando

“It’s not easy to play against these kind of players – they have good IQ and high quality, which is why they are still second best in the rankings. Our team showed character, we were believing and fighting all the way. We still have to win one game.” Angola head coach, Pep Claros


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