Eurobasket’s all-time leading scorer Pau Gasol has dealt with many losses in his time as a professional and everytime he has suffered a defeat, he has dusted himself off, got back up and focused on the next task.
This year’s Eurobasket is no different. Spain were humbled 92-72 by Slovenia but Gasol immediately went about planning the side’s next mission: to leave with the bronze medal.
“My plan with the national team is trying to compete in order to win the bronze medal,” Gasol said. “We must humbly accept defeat and prepare ourselves because we are lucky that we can still get a medal in this tournament and leave in a joyful manner.
“We have to be aware of the value of the bronze and value the moment and opportunity to win a medal. That’s very difficult.”
Leaving with a medal holds great importance to Gasol and indeed the entire Spanish roster, which will most likely be stripped bare in November when the national side gather for the World Cup qualifiers. Due to his NBA commitments, Gasol’s presence with Spain will be limited and with many NBA and EuroLeague stars on the roster, the FEB will perhaps look to the Liga Endesa to fill the void.
It will be gutting for Gasol and the majority of the Spanish contingent that Slovenia also feature in their World Cup qualifying group, too, with Montenegro and Belarus also included. But they will have another shot at this year’s Eurobasket finalists next June.