Jorge Sanz and Most Valuable Player Alejandro Abrines Redondo combined for 38 points as Spain held off determined Serbia 71-65 to capture Spain's third U18 European Championhip Men title following crowns in 1998 and 2004.
|FIBA Europe Secretary General Nar Zanolin, the President of the Polish Basketball Federation Grzeegorz Bachanski and the two Spanish captains with the trophy|
Names like Sanz, Redondo, Jaime Fernandez, Daniel Diez and the rest of the Spain team will go down in U18 history with 1998 winners Pau Gasol, Jose Calderon, Juan Carlos Navarro and Felipe Reyes and the 2004 champions Sergio Rodriguez, Carlos Suarez and Sergio Llull.
In the final in Wroclaw, Spain held Serbia to just 3-of-19 on three-pointers (16 percent) and Spain made 24-of-30 free throws (80 percent) to win the title.
Sanz scored 22 points while Redondo had 16 points, five rebounds and four blocks. Daniel Diez, who was also named to the All-Tournament Team added eight points and eight rebounds.
Serbia, who were hoping to win gold as in 2007 and 2009, had to settle for silver despite 13 points each from Vasilje Micic and Luka Mitrovic while Nenad Miljenovic and Stefan Popovski-Turanjanin both scored 10 points. Nemanja Dangubic was held scoreless as he missed all 10 shots he took.
Spain's offense sputtered a bit in the first quarter and Serbia kept the Spaniards off the offensive glass with the lead changing three times with five ties and Spain ahead 16-14.
After not hitting a triple in the first quarter, Spain nailed two early in the second frame and opened a 30-24 lead. Miljenovic answered with a three-point play and Nemanja Miskovic - starting in place of the injured center Nemanja Bezbradica - pulled Serbia to within 30-29. Sanz came up big at the end of the half, scoring six points in an 8-3 close as Spain went into halftime ahead 43-36.
Mitrovic hit four points in a 6-0 Serbia run to open the second half and he scored again to pull the Serbs within 45-44. A Redondo basket pushed the gap back to 52-46 and Spain led 54-51 after three quarters.
Serbia failed to score on their first six possessions and Spain pushed the advantage to nine points at 60-51. Guillermo Hernangomez missed two free throws which would have made it a double digit cushion early in the fourth period.
But Micic took Serbia upon his back and scored seven straight points for Serbia in cutting the margin to 64-62 with 1:22 remaining. Mitrovic missed two foul shots and Dangubic was off-target on a triple with 29 seconds left and Spain already ahead 67-62. Sanz and Redondo then both made two free throws in the final 27 seconds to secure the victory and the title.
Watch captain Jaime Fernandez's postgame reaction here.