The less recognizable Spanish team lost to Italy (68-72) this Sunday in Cáceres, in their second qualifying match for the FIBA World Cup 2023 between the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia. Both teams reached the last match already classified for the competition and with this result the two teams end up with 8 wins and 2 losses in group L, with Spain with the average in favor against Italy.
Guglielmo Caruso, with 19 points, was the top scorer of the game and was decisive in the victory of the Italian team, in which all the players scored. Tyson Pérez (15 points and 8 rebounds) and Juan Núñez (15 points and 8 rebounds) shone for Spain. The local fans were very dedicated to the team -in which Alex Reyes, born in Cáceres, made his debut-, especially with Alberto Díaz, who led the attack with 4 points in the first five minutes of the game, which presaged a low score from the beggining. A triple by Joel Parra and free throws by Miquel Salvó made it 13-7, the maximum advantage so far for a Spanish team that was beginning to like it and which finished 16-13 up in the first quarter.
Eric Vila was soon charged with fouls with two practically consecutive personals in the second quarter, while in Italy, an incombustible Caruso led his team with 9 points in the first half. A 2+1 score by the 23-year-old Italian center tied the match at 18, to which Spain quickly responded with two three-pointers in less than a minute (24-18). However, the local team continued to commit fouls and grant second chances to the azure, free throws and rebounds that Italy did not miss, which held on the scoreboard with good defenses exhausting Spain’s possession.
Despite the good first half of Tyson Pérez (with 8 points and 4 rebounds in this period), Spain saw their advantage go to waste at halftime after a dunk from Mouhamet Diuf and a triple from Tomas Woldetensae, which placed the visitors 29-33 up. In the second half, which began with a three-pointer from Salvó, Marco Spissu left injured while the coach Scariolo received a technique out of desperation as he saw that the rival increased their advantage more and more due to the second chances granted and the entry of Spain in bonuses very soon.
Spain went to a zone defense in the third quarter to see if they could master the defensive rebound. A 2+1 by Pérez and the subsequent score by Caruso left the game open (44-52) for the last ten minutes. The last quarter began with Italy hitting again on the outside shot and Pérez pulling the Spanish car, which he saw as the visitors went 44-57. A basket by Juan Núñez after a rebound would again reduce the deficit to less than ten points. The young point guard together with Ferrán Bassa tried to complete a comeback that finally did not take place for Spain, which could not reduce the gap to less than four points (68-72).
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