After 13 years, Spain is back atop the basketball world.
In the Final of the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup, the Spanish National Team earned a 95-75 win over Argentina to capture gold for the first time since doing so at the 2006 FIBA World Championship in Japan.
The old saying of defence winning championships again held true as Spain held Argentina to just 22-for-61 (36.1%) shooting in the wire-to-wire victory; Spain also blocked eight of Argentina's shots and outrebounded its opponent 47-27.
The champions were led by Phoenix Suns point guard Ricky Rubio, who scored a game-high 20 points to go along with seven rebounds and Toronto Raptors centre Marc Gasol, who again made his mark across the board as he finished with 14 points, seven rebounds and a team-high seven assists.
Both Gasol and Rubio earned All-Tournament honours for their performance with Rubio earning the ultimate honour as Tournament MVP.
Gasol, who won his first NBA title with Toronto just three months ago, becomes just the second player to win both an NBA championship and a FIBA world championship in the same year. He does so alongside Raptors assistant coach Sergio Scariolo, who is the head coach of the Spanish National Team.
The 34-year-old Gasol is also one of two players on the 2019 team that were members of the 2006 team, the other being 34-year-old Rudy Fernandez, who recorded an 11-point, 10-rebound double-double in the championship.
It was a perfect run for Spain, who closes the tournament with a flawless 8-0 record. In doing so, Spain joins the United States as the only two nations to go undefeated in more than one World Cup championship run.
For Argentina, the loss marked the end of a magical run that caught many by surprise. The Argentine National Team was led by 24 points from Gabriel Deck while Nicolas Laprovittola added 17 points in the game.
Ultimately, it was Spain's defence that neutralized Argentina's two most important players as point guard Facundo Campazzo finished with 11 points (on 2-11 shooting) and eight assists and ageless wonder Luis Scola scored just eight points (on 1-10 shooting) and pulled down eight rebounds.
Despite making a few late pushes, with Campazzo and Scola shooting a combined 3-for-21 (14.3%) from the field, Argentina couldn't find the offensive groove it needed to stay in the game.
The 39-year-old Scola joined Rubio and Gasol on the All-Tournament team, with Serbia's Bogdan Bogdanovic and France's Evan Fournier earning the remaining two spots.
As the World Cup comes to a close, the focus of international competition shifts one year ahead as both Spain and Argentina will be competing in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. For Spain's four current NBA players, the provides momentum leading into their respective training camps, which begin at the end of the month.