by Yarone Arbel
For the fourth time in the last 10 U16 European Championships Turkey win the bronze medal following a 75-64 win over Spain at Sports Hall Topolica in Bar, Montenegro on Sunday evening.
The Turks reacted well to their semi-finals loss and finished the championship in a positive way,
The 2009 champs from Spain were behind from the start and tried to pull yet another shocking come back in the closing minutes to save the game, but once again failed and will settle for the fourth seed.
Turkey saw Talat Altunbey step up with 18 points and eight rebounds, Kenan Sipahi added 17 and Zafer Alp reached 10 points.
Agusti Sans finished with 16 points for Spain followed by Albert Homs with 15 and Javier Marin had 12 with 10 rebounds.
Turkey missed their main big guy Burak Haciismail with an injury in the second quarter, but still managed to be a force in the paint on both ends of the floor and under both boards to even make a small win the rebounds battle 38-36.
Altunbey covered for the absence of the big man with a great game, good defense and a tournament high in points, that had a big side in his team's place on the podium.
"We had a very good start despite losing out big man Burak early in the game," said the crowned coach Erhan Toker
"That forced us to change our way of playing, and I'm happy we made good adjustments that eventually made the difference.
"Spain tried to come back as always, but we stayed calm and made good plays.
"We didn't deserve to win yesterday, but we bounced back quickly enough to win the bronze medal which is very important to us and I'm happy we showed that we can do it."
Three Turks scored in a 7-0 run that started the game, and a dish by Tayfun Erülkü made it 13-4 after less than four minutes.
Sipahi seemed out of focus under the Spanish pressure and wrote two turnovers but quickly fixed with a jumper and his assist to James Metecan Birsen finished with the last three pointer of the first quarter, 25-17.
Alp scored from the arc to set the score on 33-20 early in the second, and Erülkü noticed he had better shooting days here and focused on creating for others, such as a great pass that Altunbey finished with a big dunk, 35-24.
A rare three pointer by Altunbey exampled just how hot he was today, while Birsen finished the second quarter just as he finished the first with a three point of his own after a Siphai pass, 43-30 at the break.
Altunbey and Sipahi continued to hurt Spain and early in the third it was already 50-30 that completed a 13-0 Turkish run starting already in the second quarter and reach the top gap of the game - 20.
Spain answered with a 2-12 run and entered the last quarter behind 59-47 but waited a few more minutes before their daily comeback attempt.
Josep Perez and Hernangomez were responsible for seven points in a row that cut the difference to only five, 61-56 and they weren't over yet.
Turkey had some minutes to grab some air before Marin shaved one more point from the gap to leave it on just four points, 66-62 inside the last three minutes.
The ball returned to Spanish hands but Hernangomez missed and saw Altunbey hit a huge jumper from mid-range that kept his team a bit safer.
Alp and Sipahi took over for the last minutes as now Turkey wrote seven unanswered points and this time it was good enough for a medal.