It was third time lucky for Italy as a game-high 25 points from Alessandro Gentile helped to punch their ticket for the U20 European Championship for Men 2010 Qualifying Round after a physical contest with Netherlands who will now have to try and preserve their recently acquired Division A status in the relegation round.
Netherlands can certainly hold their heads high and head into that battle with confidence after another competitive performance during this 77-65 loss when they really had Italy in a nervous sweat right up until midway through the last quarter.
The Dutch team was once again athletic, good on the fast break, willing to make the extra pass and both Craig Osaikhwuwuomwam and Mohammed Kherazzi were at times, dominant in the paint - the former achieving a double-double of 13 points and 13 rebounds while the latter produced 18 points and 9 boards.
In fact, it wasn't until Coach Sacripanti brought the similarly athletic Paul Biligha off the bench for a lengthy stint in the second half that the game changed and mometnum shifted the way of Italy.
His contribution was perhaps a little more than a cameo and the impact he had was arguably the real key to the game. He finished with 9 points and 5 rebounds and was perfect in his shooting.
Similarly triples by Roberto Rullo either side of the third and fourth quarter break were pivotal with his second three-pointer talking Italy out to 59-50 advantage when both teams had been tied up at 46-46 minutes earlier.
While Netherlands battled gamely to try and pull the deficit back, it was fitting that Gentile delivered the dagger shot from the wing with three minutes to go to effectively seal the fate of the Dutch.