Rio 2016: Spain basketball coach upbeat despite second defeat

A second successive narrow defeat has left Spain staring at a shock early exit from the men’s basketball competition at Rio 2016, but coach Sergio Scariolo is remaining calm.

Silver medallists at the last two Olympics, Spain began this campaign with a 72-70 defeat to Croatia and were edged out 66-65 by hosts Brazil on Tuesday.

A swift improvement is needed if Spain are to make the quarter-finals, but Scariolo said: “I’m very confident this situation will end with the next game.”

The coach added: “There are very many easy things [that we are getting wrong], things that are normally pretty easy [such as] shots from short distances, free throws, open three-point shots.

“I will call it [the situation] challenging, not bad, but challenging. It’s not bad until you’re out, and we’re still very in.”

Guard Jose Manuel Calderon is taking heart from the fact Spain recovered from two group-stage defeats to make the final in London four years ago.

“I think everybody is talking about that,” said Calderon.

“Hopefully, that means we can get to the next round [again].

“We lost by two and by one; we’ve got to be ready for three more battles like this, and hopefully they go our way. Until somebody says different, we’ve got a chance.”

Next up for Spain is a meeting with Nigeria on Thursday.

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