RIO DE JANEIRO -- There are few things in this world Ricky Rubio loves more than basketball, the electricity he feels when hes on the fastbreak, teammates running with him and a no-look lob pass just begging to be thrown.His mother, Tona, was certainly one of them.The point guard spent all of last season with the Minnesota Timberwolves watching from afar as Tonas body slowly succumbed to lung cancer, and there were times that he wondered if he should be playing at all.Sometimes at night during the season I was going through hell, Rubio told The Associated Press as Spain prepared for a showdown with the United States in the Rio Olympics semifinals Friday. Waking up in, who knows, Sacramento, in LA, in the middle of the night alone in a hotel and thinking, `Why am I here? Is it really worth it?When Timberwolves president and coach Flip Saunders died suddenly from lymphoma in October, it rocked the organization and Rubio in particular. Watching Flips son Ryan, an assistant coach on the team, grieve put a permanent pit in Rubios stomach, giving him the sinking feeling that he was getting a glimpse into his own future.Sometimes during video chats -- Tonas was the first voice Rubio wanted to hear after a win or a loss -- she would have to step away while becoming ill. He scrambled back home after the season was over and spent about six weeks with her before she died on May 25 at the age of 56.Anyone can say hes close to his mom, said Lucas Charte, Rubios close friend and manager. But when you see Tona and Ricky and how their relationship went, it was something else. There was a kind of connection between them. They were too similar. Ricky has a brother and a sister. Nobodys parent will tell you they have a favorite. But you could tell Ricky was Tonas favorite.Rubio has always looked forward to playing for the Spanish national team. He started practicing with them at 16 and sees his teammates as a surrogate family that helped raise him from a child prodigy into a trusted veteran.But when Tona passed, Rubio thought long and hard about pulling out of Rio to be with his father and two siblings back in Spain.At one point when everything happened, you think whats the best? Rubio said. Stay with your family? Stay back home? Or sacrifice one more time everything for one goal, which is the gold medal, and dedicate it to her.Rubio tore the ligaments in his left knee at the end of a promising rookie season in 2012, causing him to miss the London Games that summer. He watched his beloved teammates fall to the United States, 107-100, in the gold-medal game. On his first day of rehab, Rubio vowed to physical therapist Andre Deloya that he would bring him to Rio four years later. Deloya never mentioned the promise again, but when it came time, Rubio had the tickets ready for him and his wife.One promise kept. One to go.Spain started the tournament 0-2 and Rubio was not playing well. Tona was not there, and he could not get her absence out of his head.I had a lot going on in my mind. It started with doubts. I started wondering if all the sacrifice was worth it, he said. I put a lot of pressure on myself, like Ive been doing my whole career. At one point I decided to forget about all the pressure and just play for fun and do my game and enjoy what I do.He has gradually settled in, and Spain is humming heading into the rematch with Rubio at the controls. In the first two games of the tournament, Spain was outscored by six points in the 28 minutes he was on the floor. In their last three victories, they have outscored their opponents by 67 points in Rubios 59 minutes.The mighty Americans -- winners of 50 straight games in international tournaments -- have shown some rare vulnerability in this tournament, emboldening challengers like Spain and Australia.It would mean everything for us, Rubio said of a win on Friday. It would mean the world. I remember watching Argentina beat the U.S. in 2004 and I think maybe the same story that Argentina wrote with the `Gold Generation, we can write, too.Rubio wants to win for Spanish fans after falling short against the U.S. in the gold-medal games in Beijing and London. He wants to win for teammates Pau Gasol, Juan Carlos Navarro and Jose Calderon, who may not have another Olympic run in them.Most of all, he wants to win for Tona.Adidas Ireland Sale . Philadelphia is 2-0 against the Senators this season and scored five goals in each victory. The Flyers recorded a 5-0 win in Ottawa on Nov. 12 and then earned a 5-2 home decision on Nov. 19. The Flyers have claimed three straight and four of the last five encounters with the Sens overall and Philly has won two in a row and three of its past four tests in Canadas capital city. Cheap Adidas Ireland Free Shipping .Y. -- Marcell Dareus and the Buffalo Bills defence made life miserable for Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco. http://www.clearanceadidasshoesireland.com/ . -- Whether Jeremy Hill deserves a prominent role in LSUs offence this early in the season is a matter for debate. Adidas Ireland For Sale . Barcelonas entertaining victory ensured the defending Spanish champions retained their share of the league lead with Atletico Madrid two rounds ahead of their meeting in the capital. Real Madrid needed a late goal by substitute Jese Rodriguez to earn a 3-2 victory at Valencia to stay in third place and three points behind its title rivals. Cheap Adidas Shoes Ireland . In taking its goal tally to 99 in all competitions already this season, City delivered another demonstration of its lethal firepower at Etihad Stadium to set up a fourth-round match at home to another second-tier team -- Watford.Burnley secured an immediate return to the Premier League as Sam Vokes’ goal earned a 1-0 victory over QPR on Monday.Having seen Brighton held by Derby earlier in the afternoon, Burnley knew that victory at Turf Moor would see them promoted with a game to spare.They were made to work hard for the points but got the decisive goal in the 61st minute when Vokes flicked David Jones free-kick into the far corner. Alejandro Faurlin almost denied Burnley when his long-range effort struck the post, but Sean Dyches side held out and will return to the Premier League after being relegated last year. Stephen Ward is mobbed by Burnley fans following promotion The win moves Burnley two points ahead of Middlesbrough and Brighton, with only one of them able to get into the automatic places as they meet at the Riverside live on Sky Sports on the final day. Dyche: Unbelievable season Burnley boss Sean Dyche savoured an unbelievable season. The Clarets promotion charge has been built on the back of a lengthy unbeaten run from Boxing Day which they stretched to 22 games against QPR, even though they were not at their best. Sam Vokes scored the winner as Burnley sealed promotion to the Premier League The visitors had the better chances in the first half as Matt Phillips and Junior Hoilett both tested Tom Heaton with low shots.ddddddddddddndre Gray was rarely involved at the other end and Burnleys only real opportunity of the first 45 minutes came when Cole Kpekawas soft clearance fell to Vokes, but his effort was blocked.Michael Petrasso almost latched on to a long ball over the top, only for Heaton to come out sharply to smother the chance. Vokes (obscured) celebrates scoring his sides goal Burnley looked brighter after the break and went close as Scott Arfields side-footed lob from outside the box went just past the far post.Gray then lifted the ball over Matt Ingram after turning Grant Hall, but his effort, with Vokes well placed in the middle, was off target.The breakthrough eventually arrived in the 61st minute when Jones curled in a free-kick from the right side of the box and Vokes headed into the far corner. Burnleys Andre Gray looks for a way past QPR defender Clint Hill While the stadium erupted in celebration, QPR almost spoiled the party when Faurlins sweetly-struck effort in the 69th minute hit the outside of the post.However, otherwise the visitors rarely threatened in the closing stages and it was Burnley who went closest to scoring again as Ingram made a sharp save to deny Arfield and Vokes headed into the net after the whistle had gone for a foul. ' ' '