|28 July 2012|
By Jared Grellet
The second semi-final at the Dadu U16 European Championship presents two teams who have arrived here in contrasting styles.
Whilst Turkey continue to deliver convincing wins, Serbia have made a habit out of producing tense finishes.
Sporting the tallest line up in the tournament, it is of little surprise to see Turkey coming second in two-point field percentage, but far from being a one-dimensional team, Omer Ugurata's team can also deliver from outside the arc when they are called upon.
With this in mind expect Turkey to look to wear out Serbia through their physical presence inside the paint, before going beyond the arc to deliver their killer blow.
Against Germany in the quarter-final, that killer blow came midway through the final frame. But against Serbia, who are deserved of their label as the best closing team in the tournament, the blow may need to come earlier.
2.06 meter Egemen Guven has been a stand out player, not just literally, for Turkey,
Showing fantastic athleticism for a person of his height, Guven also possesses a promising jump-shot. However, consistency remains a problem for Turkey's leading scorer and if Turkey are to advance to the final, much will depend on whether the young center turns up to play or not.
Serbia arrive in the semi-finals beaming with confidence. Looking down and out against Spain as they trailed by 16 points midway through the third quarter, Marko Icelic's men dug deep, fighting back to win by a point.
All six of Serbia's wins have come by 10 points or less with guard Ilija Dokovic showing himself to be one of the best clutch players at the depth in the tournament. Against Spain, it was the number five who was calmly slotting a pair of free-throws to win the game in the dying seconds.
If Serbia are able to stay in touch with Turkey for three quarters, they will be confident of coming out on top at the end of the fourth.
If the Serbs have also been studying Turkey's game tape from a day earlier, they will know that they will struggle to win if they opt to take on the superior height of Turkey inside the paint. Instead, Jovan Starincevic and Dokovic need to find their shot from outside the perimeter early.