Will play in Classification Group for fifth-ninth place
(12-5, 15-17, 14-15, 16-11)
Malta finished third in Group A of the FIBA Under-16 European Championships Division C tournament after beating Gibraltar 57-48 in their final game of the group on Monday.
It was finally a relief for the Malta boys after two consecutive defeats in the group against Kosovo and Moldova, as on Monday Omar Said’s clan took control of the game in the first quarter and never looked back.
While both sides were lacking from three-point range, Malta made more than half of their freethrows and scored 45.5% from their two-point attempts. Malta were also the more alert side at the boards on the day with 68 rebounds compared to Gibraltar’s 50.
In terms of scoring, Malta and Gibraltar shared six lead changes but Malta lead for the majority of the game despite the biggest lead being nine points. However, it was a case of opening and closing the game right with dominant first and fourth quarters. The bench was also a major contributor for the side with 21 points throughout the game.
Sebastian Pace led Malta’s scoring with 14 points, adding three rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Kai Fabri added 11 points and six rebounds. Malcolm Buttigieg de Piro rounded the double-digit scoring 10 points, going close to a double-double after grabbing nine rebounds. Matthew Sammut and Julien Dimech both were as active as ever on the boards, finishing with 11 and 13 respectively.
Gibraltar’s Nathan Vaugh led the game in scoring with 21 points, being the team’s only double-digit scorer on the day. Pablo Postigo led the game in rebounds with 15, going close to a double-double himself with nine points scored in the game.
The Group finalises its standings with a top-seed decider between Kosovo and Andorra who are both on four points and just a point separates them in overall scoring. Both sides are assured of a spot in the semifinals, while Malta play the fifth-placed side of Group B on Tuesday (tip-off: 5.30pm). The latter opponent looks likely to be San Marino who face Azerbaijan later on Monday in their final game after having lost three games on the trot.
S. Pace 14, L. Attard 1, K. Fabri 11, K. Deguara 3, K. Galea, M. Buttigieg De Piro 10, M. Sammut 8, M. Micallef, M. Rieger 2, J. Dimech 8.
E. Navarro, Q. McGlashan 5, M. O’Connor 7, T. Diallo 2, P. Postigo 9, J. Teuma 4, S. Chapman, N. Vaughan 21.
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