Nikola Mirotic made a belated debut for Spain at the U20 European Championship Men 2010 but his return was to be an unhappy one as Vladimir Ivlev grabbed the headlines with a stellar 19 points and 16 rebounds to help Russia claim a vital 70-68 win.
The center, who has been one of the stand-out players in Makarska ensured his team responded in the best way possible to their disappointing double-digit loss in the previous game against Croatia.
This game was hugely disappointing for Spain not only because of the defeat, but also because their trademark defensive pressure failed to contain Russia who amassed 29 points in the last quarter to take victory.
Forward Ignacio Llovet had more reason than any other Spanish player to feel aggrieved after posting another double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Ivlev meanwhile was understandably delighted with the result and paid tribute to team-mate Vladimir Pichkurov who was also influential in the game.
"Pichkurov was very good in the last quarter and now we are going ahead in the tournament. If we make it to thefinals, I hope we get an opponent which will be easy."
Another player who came up big-time down the stretch for Russia was Grigory Andreev who scored the last six points for his team.
He added, "It was a very close finish and we all were very nervous. Our opponent played very well, however I believed in us."