Poland delivered a statement of intent by comfortably beating newly crowned world champions Spain 80-69 in the EuroBasket 2021 qualifiers in Zaragoza.
Missing the familiar firepower that basketball fans are used to seeing, Spain still boasted a strong line-up featuring ACB players.
However, despite a slow start, Poland moved up the gears in the second quarter to establish their superiority led by 26 points from AJ Slaughter.
Dani Diez led Spain with 16 points, ably supported by Sebastian Saiz’s 15-point, 12-rebound double-double.
Leading 24-17 and looking relatively comfortable, Spain were pegged back by a confident Poland side, out to make their mark on the game and sure enough, a three from Slaughter gave them a 36-33 lead with 1:32 remaining in the second.
Taking a slender 38-35 lead heading into the third, the visitors maintained their consistency, offensively and that earned them a double-digit lead heading into the fourth.
Spain – who admittedly haven’t been together as a unit for long – were short of answers and as a team struggled towards the end.
Both sides end the first window of action 1-1 in Group A.