Spain End On Positive Note
Spain finished fifth in the U18 European Championships after winning their final game 92-85 against last year’s champions France.
It may not be the same as winning the gold but the hosts still celebrated the victory quite emphatically with their fans after the game, despite the obvious disappointment of missing out on a medal after only losing one game all tournament.
France gave a good fight through their star men Edwin Jackson and Antoine Diot, who had a great game with 27 and 24 points respectively.
But this win was a real team effort on Spain’s part, as five players ran up double figures.
Emerging star Pablo Aguilar had another double-double, playing excellent basketball all game and scoring 22 points while pulling down 11 rebounds.
Ricky Rubio kept the Spain side running smoothly with 21 points and eight assists, while Sergio De La Fuente and Xavier Rabaseda added 16 points and Pere Tomas pitched in with 11.
Spain took the lead early and ran out in front, but France never really let them fully get away.
In every quarter France threatened to come back, but every time they got close to Spain the hosts pulled away again.
The closest the French side came was with 4:51 to go in the game when they pulled dead level with Spain for the first time since the first quarter on 75 points through another great Jackson trey, just one of the five he scored from that range in the game.
But then Spain turned on the style, as with 3:18 left Rabaseda converted a reverse lay-up before Rubio stole the ball away and put it in himself to take the score to 85-79 with 2:36 to go.
Still France brought it close again just to let Spain pull away.
Diot made it 85-83 with 1:30 left, before a Tomas trey and two successful Rubio free shots sentenced it 90-85 with 22 seconds to go and no way back for France.
It means Spain finish fifth above France in sixth.
Earlier Croatia beat Turkey 90-81, with fans favourite Miro Bilan scoring 16 points as five Croatian players scored in double figures to take seventh place overall.
Ninth place was taken by Germany in a 70-53 win over Russia, while Israel finished in eleventh after beating Estonia 68-59.