Pau Gasol confirmed once again that he wants to play with the Spanish national team in the upcoming Eurobasket 2017. “My desire of playing for the national team is very big and I’ve been proving it for many years, but now I’m trying to be more cerebral at the moment I’m in my career, no more and no less, “said Gasol speaking to ‘El Larguero’ show of Cadena SER.
However, there’s no final decision on the matter “so far” and everything still depends on his NBA season. “The load of games can take a toll on you and taking breaks are more important for me. I hope that with San Antonio we get as far as possible and if that is the case we will finish our season in the middle or at the end of June, so the decision will not be easy”, he added.
The 27-year-old, who is in London with the Pacers as they face the Denver Nuggets at the O2 Arena on Thursday night is understandably focussing on his club duties but has said that he will make contact with the federation during the season. “I haven’t spoken to the French federation yet but it’s something I am going to do at some point,” Seraphin said. “Being honest, it’s a step-by-step thing but I am hopeful to play for France this summer. However, my focus is with the Pacers and I am waiting to see where I stand in regards to the rotation and where I stand here and see where I might be with the national side moving forward.”
Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio says it’s far “too early” to know if he’ll be in a Spain team that will be taking aim at a fourth European title in five years next summer. The desire to be on that roster is already there, though. “Of course, if I’m healthy,” he said to FIBA.com. “But sometimes I speak too early and then I get hurt, so I just want to focus right now on this situation with the (Minnesota) team.”
Spain’s opponents in the Group Phase at FIBA EuroBasket 2017 will be Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Montenegro and Romania in Group C. “The European Championship is always hard,” Rubio said. “There are a lot of good teams and it’s not an easy tournament. Sometimes it’s harder than a World Cup. “You just have to play tough. We know the last European Championship, we weren’t favorites but we won. We’re trying to bring the best team so we can win again.”
Eurobasket champions Spain have a favourable draw as they travel to Romania to open their 2017 campaign in Cluj-Napoca. The 2015 winners will face Croatia, Czech Republic, Montenegro, Hungary and hosts Romania in Group C. Eurobasket runners-up Lithuania will be housed in Tel Aviv, where they are drawn with the hosts Israel, Ukraine, Georgia, Italy and Germany. Group D, which takes place at the Ulker Sports Arena on the Asian side of Istanbul looks to be the toughest pool of the four as Turkey hosts Great Britain, Russia, Serbia, Latvia and Belgium.