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  • Ricky Rubio scores 20 points and Marc Gasol added 14 as Spain routed Argentina for its second World Cup title, just months after the Raptors took the NBA championship
By Associated Press
September 15, 2019

BEIJING — Marc Gasol looked to the sky as confetti fell, some sticking to his massive shoulders, and then cradled and kissed the giant golden chalice that goes to the World Cup champions.

He's getting good at hoisting trophies.

Gasol got to bask in a championship celebration for the second time in three months—and this time, he did it for his country. Tournament MVP Ricky Rubio scored 20 points, Sergio Llull added 15 and Spain won the World Cup for the second time by topping Argentina 95-75 on Sunday.

Gasol scored 14 for the winners, who never trailed and added this crown to the one it claimed in 2006. And for him, 2019 will go down as a year the likes of which few others have enjoyed.

The Toronto Raptors center becomes the second player to win an NBA title and a FIBA world gold medal in the same year, joining Lamar Odom—who did it for the Los Angeles Lakers and USA Basketball in 2010. Gasol also became the 19th to win either an NBA or WNBA crown along with a gold medal, either of the Olympic or World Cup variety, in the same year.

The first 18 all did it for the U.S.

This time, Vamos Espana!

Llull and Rudy Fernandez—the team captain, the one who initially got to accept the Naismith Trophy—went to cut down the nets shortly after the final buzzer. Gasol carried the game ball to the gold-medal ceremony, and Spanish fans wept in the stands during the national anthem.

Gabriel Deck scored 24 points for Argentina (8-1), which got off to a slow start and played uphill the rest of the way. Luis Scola was held to eight points, shooting 1 for 10 from the floor.

Spain led 43-31 at the half, riding the strength of two big runs.

Spain ran out to a quick 14-2 lead, only to have Argentina answer with an 11-0 spurt. But when that ended, Spain came back with a 17-1 run and took what was then its biggest lead at 31-14.

Scola, even at 39 years old still Argentina's best player throughout the tournament, didn't get on the scoresheet until he made a pair of free throws with 2:57 left in the third. But they only cut the Spain lead to 19, and by then the Argentinian fans - who stood in the stands a few rows from their team's bench, singing and chanting for much of the game - were relatively quiet.

The day belonged to Spain.

And the year belongs to Gasol.

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