|Davis Bertans was hot once again and good for 24 points and 8 rebounds|
The bronze medal of the OMNITEL U18 European Championship goes to Latvia after a 75-49 win in the third place game against Serbia at Siemens Arena in Vilnius, Lithuania on Sunday evening.
This is only the second medal ever Latvia won in any youth men European championship, after an earlier bronze medal made its way to Riga three years ago.
Just like then, this year as well, a lot of the credit goes to a member of the Bertans family, as in 2007 it was Dairis Bertans who led the team to the podium and now it was his younger brother Davis.
Davis stepped up once more and wrote 24 points next to eight rebounds while having a great performance in the second half when his team took over the game.
"This is such an exciting moment for my team and myself," said the thrilled youngster.
"We wanted to win this medal so much, and fought so hard to make it.
"I can't believe we've made it so far. I want to thank anyone who supported and believed in us."
Next year this Latvian squad will have a chance to recreate their great success when they host the FIBA U19 World Championship in their capital city Riga.
Kaspars Vecvagars added 13 points and Arnolds Helmanis contributed 10 points with seven rebounds to spice up the Latvian party.
Bogdan Bogdanovic was the only Serbian player in double-digits with 12 while Vukasin Petkovic and Bozo Dumic scored nine each.
Serbia suffered from another bad shooting day with only four made hits in 21 attempts from the arc, while their rivals bombed 14 times, six of them left the fingers of Bertans.
Both teams went through a very unpleasant experience last night and tried to find comfort in a medal. Serbia dropped a game they hand in their hands while Latvia suffered a big defeat.
Serbia were strong in the game and didn't allow Latvia to take a bigger margin than three points until the 26th minute.
Then came a 12-0 run that changed the pace of the game, and from that moment until the final buzzer the eventual winners won the last 14 minutes 37-11.
The first quarter finished with a 14-16 Serbian lead thanks to a good start by Petkovic and Bogdanovic who scored nine already in the first half.
Bertans showed he's ready with his first three pointer and followed with another early in the second quarter, but the teams went neck-to-neck not only in the good minutes but also in the bad ones preventing a big run.
Andris Misters dished a big pass to a great Edmunds Dukulis dunk, yet still no side managed to hold a bigger difference than three, the lead changed hands eight times and the score was tied five and the scoreboard displayed at the half 28-30 for Serbia.
The third quarter told the same story for six more minutes when Petkovic tied the score from the line at 38-38, but then it was time for Latvia to take over.
Vecvagars scored six points in a 12-0 Latvian run, that opened the first and eventually the last big lead of the game.
Misters added a hit from the arc to make it 55-43 at the end of the third, but then it was Bertans time.
The hit man scored twice in a row from long distance in less than 30 seconds and made it a 18 point game in a blink of an eye.
Yet he still wasn't finished and after another 60 seconds drilled once again from the three point line, and put his teams in ecstasy.
Serbia didn't see that bombing arrive and was all of a sudden down by 21 points with only seven minutes to answer, way too little against this Latvian team.