News ID: 258694
Published: 0202 GMT September 14, 2019

Scola determined to keep Argentina dancing

Scola determined to keep Argentina dancing
fiba.basketball

Back in 2002, Argentina played the final of the FIBA Basketball World Cup with Luis Scola on board. Fast forward 17 years, and Luis is looking better than ever, with a chance to win the gold that's missing from his illustrious collection of silverware from all over the world, when his team faces Spain in the final on Sunday.

The power forward averaged 9.2 points and 3.3 rebounds per game en route to the silver in Indianapolis in 2002. That second-place finish was just the beginning of the road for the Olympic champion, two-time FIBA AmeriCup winner, one time Pan American Games gold medalist, and owner of nine other medals in international competitions, fiba.basketball reported.

This time around, at 39 years of age, he is up to 19.3 points and 8.1 rebounds a day in China, looking happier than ever.

"I feel very well, very excited, very happy," Scola said after tormenting France – a team with a two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert protecting the paint – with 28 points and 13 rebounds in the semifinals.

"This team is fun to play with, we are winning and that is always fun. But besides that, it's just fun to be here."

Fun is probably the best word to describe the way Argentina played in China. With all of their weapons on full display here, with Scola, Campazzo, Laprovittola, Vildoza, Brussino, Garino, Deck, Delia and all the others contributing, when they get on the same page, their basketball feels like a genuine fiesta, like it's just a one big fun song that has everybody moving to the beat.

Which brings back a lot of memories of 2002.

"The journalists told us that they are dancing in the streets back home," Pepe Sanchez said, per The New York Times, 17 years ago when the team surprised the world by reaching the final.

The same kind of narrative could be used again, because Argentina is back in the gold medal game, with a 39-year-old Luis Scola leading the charge.

Since he was a part of the Golden Generation which finished second in 2002 and won gold at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, this sounded like a good time to draw comparison.

"I see a lot of similarities between this team and what we went through in 2002, 2004. Will that mean that we are going to win it all? I don't know. We already won the bronze...sorry, sorry, silver! (Laughs) That's even better. Are we going to win the gold? I don't know, but seems it's going to be close," Scola exhaled after 34 minutes on the floor against France.

"I just think we played better basketball (than France). We were the better team out there. Everybody agrees on that. We played great basketball all tournament long, and I do strongly believe that we deserve to be where we are."

The job is not done yet. Yes, the fans are dancing in the streets back home, and yes, they are dancing in the stands of the Wukesong Sport Arena, too. But just reaching the final wasn't Luis' goal here

"Maybe some people thought before the tournament that we shouldn't be here, and that's okay. I don't blame them. But, once the games started, we played with a plan, we played this way in all the games and we made noise. Nobody can say that we don't deserve to be where we are," he explained.

At 39, Scola has already set a number of records, playing his fifth World Cup and climbing to the second spot on the all-time scoring list, just behind Brazil's Oscar Schmidt. With the way he has been playing over the past two and a half weeks, he could grab another record, one which would be almost impossible to break.

Because the oldest MVP of the competition ever was Yugoslavia's Ivo Daneu, aged 30 back in 1967. Scola going all the way on the brink of his 40th birthday – that's a story that only the gods of basketball could write up.

 

 

 

 

   
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