Following back-to-back defeats, Argentina needed to beat the hosts in their final Group C match to qualify for the quarter-finals as one of the best third-placed teams.
Scola certainly led by example. The veteran power forward scored 23 points and also had 10 rebounds as the 2004 Olympic champions prevailed, securing a last-eight date with Australia.
Still going strong at the age of 41, the five-time Olympian's efforts delighted Hernandez.
"He's ridiculous. He's a hard worker, he doesn't stop ever. I think he hasn't stopped one day in the last 25 years," the Argentina coach said.
"I am sure I am not the same coach without him. Not for his 23 points [against Japan], but for his leadership. I love him."