LJUBLJANA (FIBA World Championship) - World champions Spain have named their final 12-man squad to defend their title at the FIBA World Championship.
Captain Juan Carlos Navarro will lead an experienced group into battle in Turkey, but there will be one player in line for his competitive debut after coach Sergio Scariolo opted for Caja Laboral forward Fernando San Emeterio over Carlos Suarez in his final cut.
Scariolo was left with a tough choice between the two young players, and after breaking the bad news to him, he backed Suarez to become a key player for the national team in the future.
"We said goodbye to Carlos Suarez with the sense that with a little more maturity and experience he can, in my opinion, be a major player on the team for several years," he said.
"Suarez has consistently improved since last year thanks to his efforts and the good work of the team and coaches.
"Carlos knows which parts of his game he needs to improve.
"The decision has not been easy because all of the players have good quality, personality and the commitment needed to be part of the final 12, but we can only take 12 and this was our decision."
Suarez thanked Scariolo for the opportunity and vowed to take the steps necessary to earn his place next time.
"The second summer with the national team has been very different to last year, and without doubt the experience of the last few weeks has been very positive," he said.
"To play alongside the best is always a privilege and can really help me improve.
"Next season I will continue to work to reach the highest level and give everything to make that possible. I want to make it more difficult for Sergio.
"I wish all the best to my team-mates and to Fernando San Emeterio."
Rafa Martinez, a EuroCup winner with Valencia last season, and Pablo Aguilar were the other players who had been cut since Spain began training as a 15-man group at the end of July.
Scariolo named his 12-man squad after watching his team edge out Slovenia 79-72 after overtime in Ljubljana to continue their winning run in warm-up games.
Alex Mumbru led the way with 15 points while Marc Gasol added 13, but it was a tough fight for Spain in a game that stayed neck-and-neck until the extra period.
Juan Carlos Navarro sat out the game with a minor problem, and Rudy Fernandez admitted it was tough without him.
"It was complicated and hard, but I think this will help us for the tournament," he said.
"I noticed the absence of Juan Carlos Navarro, but others stepped up, especially Marc and Alex.
"Now we will rest. We have a day off and then we get ready for the next stage."
Spain final roster: Fernando San Emeterio, Rudy Fernandez, Ricky Rubio, Juan Carlos Navarro, Jose Manuel Calderon, Felipe Reyes, Victor Claver, Fran Vasquez, Sergio Llull, Marc Gasol, Alex Mumbru, Jorge Garbajosa.