Serbia & Montenegro Celebrate Title


Hosts Serbia & Montenegro were crowned U18 men's champions of Europe on Sunday evening as they beat Turkey 78-61 in the final.

Milenko Tepic (Serbia & Mont.)
Milenko Tepic
The home team never lost control of a match they dominated more or less from the outset and, although they never gave up, the Turks could never quite get back on terms.

Serbia & Montenegro made a storming start to lead 9-0 and had taken a 19-13 lead by the end of the first quarter and were even more dominant in the second, leading 39-25 at the halfway mark.

The Turks briefly threatened a rally when they edged the third quarter by a single point but the Serbo-Montenegrins always had too much in hand to be worried and in the end they won with something to spare in front of a delighted 6500 supporters.

The celebrations had already started when Milenko Tepic converted one of two free throws with six seconds remaining and all that remained was for Turkey's Ismet Hacioglu to make a failed attempt for a three-pointer as the buzzer sounded.

MVP trophy presented to Dragan Labovic by VODA VODA president Vojin Djordjevic
MVP trophy presented to Dragan Labovic by VODA VODA president Vojin Djordjevic
The star man was the MVP of the tournament, forward Dragan Labovic who poured in 21 points and hauled down six rebounds while guard Tepic managed a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Ivan Paunic (13) and Milos Teodosic (10) also managed to reach double figures for the victors who have been excellent throughout the tournament.

Turkey's best players, as has been the case for most of the tournament, were Cenk Akyol and Oguz Savas.

Akyol, who has been called up for EuroBasket by the Turkey senior team, contributed 13 points and seven rebounds while Savas managed 15 and eight.

However, top scorer for the beaten finalists was Mehmet Yagmur who posted 16 as well as five rebounds.

Italy had earlier beaten Spain 88-83 to take the bronze medal.

They led 20-13 after the first quarter but Spain fought back brilliantly to lead 39-35 at the interval.

Luigi Datome and Alessandro Piazza celebrating
Luigi Datome and Alessandro Piazza celebrating
Back came the Azzurri in the third quarter with the Italians ending that period 57-56 to the good and they hung on for victory.

Danilo Gallinari had another impressive game for the Azzurri with 24 points and five rebounds.

Alessandro Piazza (16), Luigi Datome (15), Davide Bruttini (12) and Gino Cuccarolo also impressed for the Italians.

Sergio Llull top scored with 18 points for Spain while centre Jose Angel Antelo contributed 15. The Santiago de Compostela-born youngster had an outstanding tournament and had poured in 27 points and hauled down 15 rebounds in Spain's single-point semi-final defeat by Turkey.

His 15 points on Sunday was his smallest personal haul of the tournament in which he averaged 21.4 points.

Also making double figures for Spain were Pau Ribas Tossas (13), Albert Teruel (13) and Javier Forcada (11).


22.07.2005 - From Cindy Garcia-Bennett, PA International

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