Hernangomez Bros lift Spain to EuroBasket glory

By Girald Gaston

In the post-Gasol era of Spain basketball, a new set of brothers rose to the occasion.

Juancho and Willy Hernangomez spearheaded the powerhouse Spain against Les Bleus of France, 88-76, to regain supremacy in EuroBasket, Sunday in Berlin, Germany.

Photo Courtesy of Le Monde

After a bronze finish in the 2017 edition of the tournament, Spain is now back on top of the pedestal after flaunting a dominating first half led by the two Hernangomez. 

The Spanish brothers combined for 41 points, as Juancho busted the zone defense of France with his long bombs to finish with 27 markers and Willy outplayed Rudy Gobert with his 14 points and 8 boards. 

Lorenzo Brown also contributed 14 points and 11 assists to stabilize the Spain offense in its wire-to-wire victory.

With his consistent performance all throughout the EuroBasket, Willy also earned an MVP honor, topping Germany's Dennis Schroeder, Greece's Giannis Antetokounmpo, France's Gobert, and his teammate Brown who completed the All-Star five of the tourney.

"It's hard to explain with words how I feel, but I'm feeling extremely proud of my teammates, of my coaching staff, of all the Spanish federation from the top to the bottom. We much deserve this gold medal," the New Orleans Pelicans bigman said.

It was the fourth gold in the last six Eurobasket for the winning program of Spain, led by its veteran Italian tactician, Sergio Scariolo.

With France having a dominant presence inside in Gobert, the game plan of Scariolo and his boys was to live on the outside to negate the French bigman, and it did wonders.

As a result, the 2019 World Cup Champions displayed a good start on the first frame, 23-14, and Juancho took over with his sweet shooting to break the game wide open after his four straight treys, 35-16.

The other half of Hernangomez duo rubbed more salt to the wound of France, as Willy drove to the rim to contest the outstretched arm of Gobert to get an and-one play, 47-26, 2:32 left in the second canto.

However, Les Bleus fought back, led by Evan Fournier to trim the lead down to five after a scorching 16-0 blitz, 42-47, at the 7:51 mark of the third quarter.

With France cutting the lead to as low as three, 46-49, Spain replied with a 12-2 counter-run punctuated by Jaime Fernandez' three, 61-49, to reclaim the control of the game. 

Fournier was able to narrow the gap once more after converting a technical free throw from Scariolo's technical foul, 61-68, but it was France's last hurrah.

Hernangomez from Toronto Raptors converted a triple again to bring their advantage to double digits, 71-61, and Brown sealed the gold with his driving lay-up, 75-63, with just 4:18 left in the game.

Fournier was the leader for the French side with his team-high 23 points, but their main anchor Rudy Gobert was held to just six points and six boards in a losing effort.

"Spain played better from start to finish. They had a clear game plan and we did not execute ours well enough. We never really had control of the game. They just played better, man, period," the New York Knicks guard said.

For France, this was their second straight runner-up finish following the 2020 Tokyo Olympics gold medal match defeat against USA.


Edited by Jostle Doen Pilayre
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