It was a bit more difficult than they may have expected, but Spain clinched a spot in the second group phase of the FIBA World Cup with a 73-63 win over Puerto Rico on Monday.
Marc Gasol was a major factor for Spain with 19 points and seven rebounds in 29 minutes of action, while Ricky Rubio also starred with 17 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
The win for Spain is a bit of a favour to Canada as well, since Puerto Rico is competing against them for one of two Americas spots that will be guaranteed a place at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Next up for Spain in Group C is a game against Iran on Wednesday, after which they will advance along with the presumed runners-up to another group stage with the top two from Group D, Serbia and Italy in an order yet to be determined.
Through two games, Gasol is averaging 14.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, two steals and 1.5 blocks in 27 minutes but the next round should be much more telling in terms of where Gasol’s game is at with elevated competition — including what will be a highly anticipated matchup against Serbia’s Nikola Jokic.
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