Arvin Slagter had a game-high 18 points for the Dutch
Netherlands made the most of their size advantage on Sunday to down Bulgaria 62-53 on the road on Day 1 of EuroBasket 2015 2nd Qualifying Round Group B action.
The Dutch side out-rebounded their hosts 47 to 32 and scored 36 of their points close to the rim, while Bulgaria only got 10 of their points in the paint.
There was nothing to separate the two opponents during the first 15 minutes of what was a low-scoring affair, but the Netherlands managed to grind out a 37-27 lead by the half-time interval, on the back of 10 first-half points from Arvin Slagter.
Thomas Koenis made a lay-up with just 26 seconds left in the third period to cap off a Dutch burst and gift his team their biggest lead all night, 48-33.
It seemed almost impossible for Bulgaria, who had scored only six points in the entire third quarter, to come back from this, but Bozhidar Avramov did not lose his faith.
The Bulgarian point guard, who scored 14 of his team-high 17 points in the final quarter, instigated a 10-0 rally for his team at the start of the final frame and dished out an assist to Stanimir Marinov who drilled a triple and reduced the gap to 52-50, with 3:27 remaining on the clock.
It seemed like Bulgaria had succeeded in turning the tide and could complete their comeback with the support of the local crowd in the final minutes, but Slagter was in no mood for a dramatic finale.
The Dutch guard drilled two triples within 25 seconds to increase his team's lead to 58-50 with 2:32 left to play and dash Bulgaria's hopes, as Bulgaria only managed to score one basket after that.
Slagter finished with a game-high 18 points and added three assists and center Nick Oudendag chipped in with 13 points and nine rebounds for the winners.