|Jose Nogues had 18 points and nine rebounds for Spain on Saturday|
Spain booked a place in the Second Round of the U18 European Championship by defeating Bulgaria 69-57 in Liepaja on Saturday.
A balanced Spanish attack led by Alberto Abalde and big men Jose Nogues and David Iriarte put the finishing touches on a blowout win, eliminating Bulgaria from Second Round contention.
Aleksandar Vezenkov provided the early resistance in another brilliant night for the small forward. Vezenkov played all but 15 seconds in the first half, scoring 16 points, and marginally winning an exciting shootout with Abalde, but as Bulgaria once again relied heavily on the offensive prowess of the 17-year-old, Spain used 14 fast-break points and some extra scoring punch from Marc Garcia to establish a 14-point lead at the major break.
Nogues and Iriarte carried the scoring load in the second half to create a huge scoreboard gap between the two teams, one that would have been much larger had Bulgaria not scored the final 12 points of the game.
Abalde finished with 19 points while Nogues added 18 points and eight rebounds. Iriarte chipped in 16 points to go along with his eight rebounds.
Vezenkov tallied an efficient 28 points, on 9-for-15 shooting, and nine rebounds.