Labovic Scoops MVP Honours


Serbia & Montenegro's Dragan Labovic was awarded tournament MVP honours, following his side's final defeat of Turkey at the U18 European Championship in Belgrade on Sunday.

Labovic had a game high 21 points in Serbia & Montenegro's 78-61 victory over Turkey, along with 6 rebounds.

The 207 cm Labovic was the driving force behind Serbia & Montenegro's unbeaten run to the gold medal game. After a quiet start (8 points in the opening game against Poland), he exploded for 27 points and 12 rebounds in Serbia & Montenegro's overtime win against Croatia and never looked back.

Cenk Akyol (Turkey)
The supremely talented Cenk Akyol
He averaged a team high 14.1 ppg throughout the competition, along with 8.5 rpg, 2.3 apg and 1.8 spg.

Labovic was pushed hard by fellow MVP contenders Luigi Datome (ITA), Cenk Akyol (TUR) and Jose Angel Antelo (ESP).

Antelo proved nothing less than spectacular for Spain in Belgrade. A beast on the boards, the 203 cm center pulled down 13.8 rpg in 8 games, leading all players in the competition. He was also highly effective at the offensive end where he averaged 21.4 ppg, good enough for second overall.

Antelo was also the only player to achieve a double-double in all 8 games, followed by Labovic in second place who managed that feat 4 times.

Italy's Luigi Datome did not produce quite the same individual numbers as Antelo, but he did lead his side to a bronze medal game victory over Spain.

He was also rock solid during Italy's run to gold, leading the team in points (18.6 ppg), rebounds (8 rpg) and steals (2.1 spg).

Turkey's Akyol may well have got the nod for MVP, if it wasn't for his uncharicteristically poor performance against Serbia & Montenegro in the final.

One of the most talented players in Europe born in 1987, Akyol has already represented the senior Turkish side and may well make another appearance in Belgrade this summer, but this time at EuroBasket.

Akyol was spectacular at times during the U18 tournament, torching Croatia for 29 points, and racking up 23 points and 7 assists versus Italy and 28 points against Latvia.

However, he struggled with his shot, making just 34% of his field goal attempts. In the final against Serbia & Montenegro, Akyol again failed to find his touch, missing 6 three-point attempts (1/7 total) for 13 points.


22.07.2005 - From Cindy Garcia-Bennett, PA International

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