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List of Articles by Maloney L. Samaco


 

2012 OLYMPICS: GASOL LEADS SPAIN TO FINAL, EXCITED ABOUT HOWARD JOINING THE LAKERS

By Maloney L. Samaco
PhilBoxing.com
11 Aug 2012



Pau Gasol led Spain into the Olympic final by scoring 16 points and grabbing 12 rebounds as they kept attacking Russia in the second half, 67-59, to arrange a rematch with the United States for the gold medal of the men's basketball tournament. Spain is the world number two basketball power and European champions struggled against the mighty Russian defense in the first half.

In their first encounter during the group stages, Russia came from 18 points down to win 77-74. But in the semi-finals, Spain came to recover after the break to convert a 13-point deficit into a win.

Jose Calderon added 14 and Marc Gasol and Rudy Fernandez had 11 each. Sasha Kaun had 14 points and Anton Ponkrashov and Andrei Kirilenko 10 each for Russia.

The USA team discharged Argentina 109-83, wearing down the Argentinean five in the second half and pulling away for the semi-final win.

Gasol was also excited about the scenario of playing with NBA “Superman” Dwight Howard upon knowing that the All-Star center was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers agreed to a 12-player, four-team NBA deal that shipped the Orlando Magic star to the Lakers. A similar deal was done during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics that had Orlando giant center Shaquille O’Neal moving to Los Angeles.

“I’m excited about our team,” Gasol said. “It’s hard for me to block it out completely. It puts us in position of being an extremely powerful team and all the chances to go for the NBA championship ring.”

Howard was considered as a shoo-in for the US Olympic team had he not suffered a back injury during the season. He will team up with US Olympic star guard Kobe Bryant and Gasol, a power forward for the Lakers, in a superstar-studded lineup.

“I’m more than happy,” Gasol said. “I have a lot of hopes for the team we have for next year.”
Howard’s probable trade has been a subject of humors, and lots of possibilities were proposed, including his possible trade to the Brooklyn Nets at one period before moving finally to the Lakers.

“This kind of transactions happen,” Gasol said. “I saw myself involved once in one and I was the object of a lot of rumors about a new one last year.”

The complicated trade that involved several players had the Lakers sending center Andrew Bynum to the Philadelphia 76ers. “I want to wish Andrew the best with his new team,” Gasol said.

Howard was a part of the US gold medal team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In 54 NBA games last season, he averaged 20.6 points, a career-high 14.5 rebounds and 2.1 blocked shots.

Photo: Pau Gasol with Mark Anthony Barriga.


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