Ibaka: Spain's talent matches Olympic favorites U.S.

Oklahoman Modified: July 7, 2012 at 12:12 pm •  Published: July 7, 2012
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photo - Thunder forward Serge Ibaka grabs a rebound during Oklahoma City's 92-83 loss to the Boston Celtics on Sunday. PHOTO BY SARAH PHIPPS, THE OKLAHOMAN
Thunder forward Serge Ibaka grabs a rebound during Oklahoma City's 92-83 loss to the Boston Celtics on Sunday. PHOTO BY SARAH PHIPPS, THE OKLAHOMAN

MADRID (AP) — Serge Ibaka believes Spain's Olympic basketball team has the talent to match the U.S. squad.

He's confident the 2008 silver medalists can compete with the 2012 gold medal favorites and world champions during the games.

"They are just like us, they also have players with a lot of talent," the Oklahoma City power forward said Saturday in his first full day of training with the Spanish team. "They are a different team to 2008, but their players are still very good."

The 22-year-old Ibaka will make his Olympic debut with Spain, which he helped guide to the European Championship title last summer soon after being nationalized. Ibaka, who is of Congolese origin, turned up at camp early to prepare for the London Olympics.

"There's no time to rest, we have to find our rhythm for the competition already for these friendly games we have, see how we feel," said Ibaka, who helped lead Oklahoma City to the NBA finals in June before losing to the Miami Heat in five games. Lebron James, of the Heat, and Kobe Bryant lead the American lineup, which includes Ibaka's Oklahoma City teammates Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden.

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