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FIBA U16 European Championship: Spain Secures European Title with Dominant Victory Over Italy

Italy 68 – 77 Spain

[Credit: FIBA]

Skopje, North Macedonia — Spain was crowned FIBA U16 European champions over Italy thanks to MVP performance from Guillermo Del Pino.

They were unbeaten in their campaign to claim their sixth U16 European title in Skopje, North Macedonia.

What happened?

The game was back and forth in the early stages with Spain looking solid on defence, forcing their opponents into turnovers.

Adrian Mathis drilled a corner three to give Italy a narrow lead with four and a half minutes to go in the first, but Spain continued to respond.

With four seconds on the clock, Del Pino made a clutch three off the dribble to give Spain a three-point lead, heading into the second quarter at 22-19.

At the midway point of the second, Spain gained a six-point lead thanks to the use of the pick and roll between Del Pino and Ian Platteeuw.

With just over two minutes until half-time Spain extended their cushion to ten points thanks to some effective post-play from Daniel Balde.

The Spanish closed out the quarter with a healthy nine-point lead thanks to a Del Pino drive and finish.

Italy had some work to do in the third as they trailed by as much as 12 early in the half.

Adrian Mathis was determined to get his country ahead as he drove at the basket and finished with purpose on multiple occasions, he ended the game with 13 points, 3 boards and 3 assists.

Diego Garavaglia made a corner three to cut the deficit to 48-45 as the Italians looked to keep Spain at arm’s length.

Garavaglia was excellent for Italy dropping 19 points and grabbing 8 rebounds, showcasing his effective mid-range jump shot and three-point capabilities.

The Azzurri outscored Spain 15-12 in the quarter but they still trailed by six points as they headed into the final ten minutes.

Italy was excellent early in the fourth quarter, forcing turnovers and being effective on the fast break, eventually regaining the lead through a Garavaglia three-pointer.

However, Spain hit a stride and were clinical on offence, as well as being solid on defence to keep the Italians out.

The Spaniards lit up the fourth late on going on an impressive scoring run of 11-2 to fly past the Azzurri to claim their sixth FIBA U16 European title.

MVP: Guillermo Del Pino, Spain

The 6’4 guard was named MVP following his excellent performances for Spain where he averaged 14.6 points, 1.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists.

Del Pino impressed in the final where he dropped 22 points, three assists and two steals on Italy as well as scoring 26 points in 27 minutes against Slovenia in the quarter-finals.

“The Spanish Sniper” led the tournament’s All-Star Five where he was joined by his Spanish teammate Gildas Gimenez.

All-Star Five:

Left to right: Arturas Butajevas, Akram Naji, Gildas Gimenez, Guillermo Del Pino, Maikcol Perez [Credit: FIBA]

Gildas Gimenez, Spain

The Real Madrid small forward was held to five points and seven rebounds in the final but was pivotal in his country’s success averaging 14.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists. As well as dropping an impressive 29 points and seven rebounds in the semi-final.

Maikcol Perez, Italy

Perez was effective on the boards for Italy and dropped a monster stat line in the semi-finals with 25 points and 15 rebounds. The 15-year-old almost averaged a double double with 12.7 points, nine points and 2.6 assists.

Akram Naji, France

Naji led France to a third-place finish with victory over Lithuania, he averaged 15 points, 3.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists for his country.

Arturas Butajevas, Lithuania

23 points and 14 points from the Lithuanian centre wasn’t enough to push his team beyond France in the third-place play off but Butajevas enjoyed an excellent tournament averaging 15.6 points, 9.9 rebounds and two assists.

Final Standings:

  1. Spain
  2. Italy
  3. France
  4. Lithuania
  5. Germany
  6. Slovenia
  7. Serbia
  8. Greece
  9. Poland
  10. Turkey
  11. Latvia
  12. Finland
  13. Israel
  14. Montenegro
  15. Belgium
  16. North Macedonia

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