Spanish basketball fans should buy Mr. and Mrs. Gasol a dinner and a nice bottle of wine.
It’s because of their sons — Pau and Marc Gasol — that Spain is the champions of European basketball for the second time in a row. Spain beat France 98-85 in the championship game of EuroBasket Sunday to earn the title. France and Spain both earned automatic berths into the 2012 London Olympics by reaching the finals, which in and of itself is a huge win for France.
Pau Gasol had 17 points and 10 rebounds in the title game and was the steady force throughout the tournament. Mark Gasol had 11 points, six rebounds and two blocks against France.
The tournament MVP however went to former Grizzlies guard Juan Carlos Navarro, and deservedly so. He had 27 points in the final game and outplayed Tony Parker (who had 25 and carried the French offense throughout the tournament). Navarro had 25 or more points in all of Spain’s elimination games.
The French team is loaded with NBA talent — Joakim Noah had 11 points but fouled out, Boris Diaw had 12 and Nicolas Batum had 10.
Russia, Macedonia, Greece and Lithuania all did well enough this tournament to earn berths in the pre-Olympic second chance qualifying tournament next July. That tournament features the countries from around the globe that just missed out on earning a berth this year fighting for one of three last-chance spots in the games.