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Spain vs Lithuania, 1/8 finlas, 2006 FIBA World Championship, Saitama, Japan
29/08/2006ESP - Gasol pleased with Spain defense
SAITAMA (FIBA World Championship) - Pau Gasol stressed his Spanish team-mates have to be happy about the defensive performance they put together in their 89-67 victory over Lithuania to reach the semi-finals of the 2006 FIBA World Championship.

Gasol collected a team-high 25 points and nine rebounds. But more importantly, the 7-footer had three of Spain's four blocks and was one of nine Spaniards who had at least one steal in the quarter-final showdown.

At one point, Gasol and Juan Carlos Navarro combined to score 27 straight points for the Iberians.

"We have a lot of good players on this team. Juan Carlos and myself are two of those. But I think we have to be happy with our defense mainly," Gasol said.

"We know we have a lot of players who can score. Today it was me and Juan Carlos. Tomorrow it can be (Jorge) Garbajosa, (Jose Manuel) Calderon or anybody."

In all, Spain's defense forced Lithuania into 28 turnovers. Seven of those came as Pepu Hernandez's team went on a 15-0 run between the first and second quarters to open a 32-11 lead.

"The way we started the game, running and setting the tone from the beginning, that was the key. We just kept running and being aggressive. We have to be really happy right now," Gasol said

Still, the team's main force in the paint said Spain is far from done in Japan.

"We're happy with how things are going right now. But we want more. We're hungry," he added.

Spain will next play either Olympic champions Argentina or Turkey.

By David Hein, FIBA
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