by Yarone Arbel
Group F saw Spain smash Russia 77-65 in the opening day of the Qualifying Round in the U16 European Championship at Sports Hall Topolica in Bar, Montenegro on Monday evening.
The win lifts Spain to 3-0 on top of the group, while Russia will look for their debut win in the Qualifying Round in the next days after falling to 0-3.
The Spanish team controlled the game for the last three quarters and the final score cheats, as Russia made a run in the last minutes to minimize the uncomfortable gap to just 12.
Josep Perez was on fire with 18 points, Albert Homs contributed 14 points while Guillermo Hernangomez and Agusti Sans had 13 each.
Vasily Martynov was the only Russian player to reach double-digits and finished with 10.
"We did a very good job on defense and limited Russia to only four three pointers, when usually they make more than this," shared Luis Guil of Spain's bench.
"On offense we played with a lot of focus and knew to make the extra pass to find the open man.
"I'm happy that we made it to the quarter-finals round but now we must stay concentrated in the next games and come ready for the big games."
The constant missed shots from the arc hurt Russia's chances to come back after allowing Spain to take a double-digit difference already early in the second quarter.
Spain hit 60% of their shots inside the arc and forced 22 turnovers to create 19 fast break points against only 2 by Russia.
"Today they were for sure the better team," confessed Oleg Meleschenko of the Russian bench.
"They are a very smart team and they know how to move the ball to find the right man.
"I was afraid before the game because usually we have a hard time coming back focused from a rest day, and sadly I was right, but now we must get together and be ready for tomorrow's game."
Homs was on fire from the start and a big dunk on the fast break with a bonus from the line gave Spain a 14-6 advantage in less than four minutes.
Edgar Vicedo made it 10 point game in the next possession but Russia reacted quickly and Stanislav Ilnitskiy scored half of the points in a 0-8 run, to make it just a two point game.
Homs attacked the rim again and lit the Spanish fans once more with a big dunk, but Spain was only warming up.
Perez scored twice from the arc and A. Sanz added another in less than 90 seconds, to push the margin to 34-19 less than 15 minutes inside the game.
Oleg Alferov woke up with four quick points, but Sans answered with a three point play, and sent the teams to the half time rest with 14 points dividing them, 39-25.
Spain continued to move the ball around and step by step increased the gap to the Russians, who couldn't handle the pressure on the ball.
Hernangomez set the gap on 20 with another big dunk, Homs decided to alternate with a three pointer and Perez added four points to register a 59-39 difference after 28 minutes.
Russia used a 0-11 run in the last minutes to close a big gap to only 12 with the buzzer, but didn't really effected the Spanish machine.