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Watch: Malta overcome by Albania in FIBA U-16 European Championship finale

Malta's Kyle Deguara holds the ball away from an Albania challenge. Photo: FIBA

Seventh-place finish in Division C

MALTA              47

ALBANIA          96

(5-24, 8-20, 12-31, 22-21)

Malta suffered a second consecutive drubbing on Thursday as they fell to Albania to finish seventh in the FIBA Under-16 European Championships Division C fifth-ninth place classification group.

It was a conflicted performance for the Malta boys who may have been disheartened by the previous defeat to Armenia on Wednesday, as the side finished with a 25% field goal percentage after 68 shots taken, the majority of points coming in the final quarter.

Luke Attard was Malta’s top scorer, and the only one in double-digits, with 10 points. Matthew Micallef was close with nine.

As for Albania, Arlis Brika led the game with 20 points and made it a double-double after grabbing 16 boards. Skendi Sinani added 16 points and 15 rebounds for another double-double, Preston White finishing with 12 points. Daniel Rushaj and Aimir Xhaja rounded up the double-digit scoring with 10 points each, the former also grabbing 12 rebounds to make it a third double-double for Albania in the game.

Albania opened the scoring, but Attard replied with a three-pointer. However, Malta could not keep up the accuracy as Albania made them pay for several missed attempts with a 13-0 run midway through the first quarter.

The Maltese players resorted to long-range efforts as Albania crowded the paint, however, they could not reap the rewards of finding open spaces, missing their shots. At the other end, the gap grew to 19 until the final 30 seconds of the quarter before Kai Fabri made a shot to stop their run.

Just like the first quarter, Malta’s first basket in the second rubber was a long-range three but more trouble was on the cards as Albania pushed the lead to 26 midway through the quarter. Two free shots broke another Albania run but it was a mountain to climb at the halftime break as Malta were down by 29.

The break may have given Malta’s players well-needed rest after an onslaught in the first half; however, Albania were nowhere finished. In fact, they put up 21 points in six minutes, with Malta managing just three with a two-pointer and a shot from the line in the same period.

Malta managed to round up nine points but catching up became a nightmare as the gap became 50 at the end of the third quarter. However, the side began to click as the final quarter began and put up eight points in four minutes, matching the highest they had scored in an entire quarter so far. With 3.33 to go, Malta’s boys put up another seven points as they began to show a completely different edge. Meanwhile, Albania just did enough to keep the margin intact as they finished the game 49 points ahead.


L. Attard 10, Kai Fabri 4, Krusmir Fabri 5, M. Micallef 9, S. Ransley 4, M. Buttigieg de Piro 6, K. Deguara, J. Dimech 2, K. Galea 1, S. Pace 6, M. Rieger, M. Sammut.


Arges Mulaj 6, G. Nilo, S. Qeli, D. Rushaj 10, Aimir Xhaja 10, J. Ballanca 5, A. Brika 20, K. Gjergji 4, N. Heba 2, L. Peqini 4, S. Sinani 16, P. White 12.


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