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Watch: Malta beaten by Moldova at FIBA U18 European Championships

Malta's Adam Azzopardi drives towards the hoop against Moldova. Photo: FIBA

Malta too strong as Malta concedes second loss in a row

MOLDOVA     63

MALTA             46

(18-11, 14-10, 10-12, 21-13)

Malta conceded their second defeat in as many games at the FIBA Under-18 European Championships in Azerbaijan on Monday as they fell to a 63-46 loss against Moldova.

Moldova looked the stronger side throughout but were kept at arm’s length for most of the game by a fighting Maltese side that pushed for every possession nonetheless.

In fact, good defence from either side restricted each other’s offence to a troubled 29% field goal percentage for both. However, Moldova managed to find a way in either way with more than half of their points coming from inside the paint. Malta’s bench had a positive day with 22 points, compared to Moldova’s 16-point bench player scoring.

Adam Azzopardi led Malta’s scoring with Game One’s top scorer Connor James having a particularly quiet game on Monday. Azzopardi scored 13 and managed to grab five rebounds. Isaac Azzopardi followed with a double-double of 11 points and 13 rebounds.

Massimo Macaru led the game’s points with 19, adding six rebounds to his tally. Andrei Voitenco followed with 12 points and 15 rebounds for a double-double. Lucian Lavric added 11 points, Maxim Iastremschi scored 10 and seven rebounds, with Ilia Cucerenco grabbing 10 rebounds.

Malta took the lead with two of the first three makes. However, Moldova went on an 8-0 run to open a gap before Azzopardi stopped this momentum with a layup of his own.

After grabbing a six-point lead, Moldova struggled to escalate such a margin in the opening stages of the second quarter as Malta pushed to get buckets of their own. Malta managed to put up 10 points, but it was Moldova who managed to both equalize and overcome that number by the halftime break to make it an 11-point game at the buzzer.

The third quarter was just as close and despite Moldova being aggressive on offence, a number of missed attempts led Malta to reduce the gap to single digits as Duncan Fenech’s clan stayed patient in their play until the end of the rubber.

Both sides came out looking for a strong finale and with three minutes gone, Malta had made it a six-point margin with a freethrow and an Azzopardi make. Moldova replied with a three-pointer from Massimo Macaru to stretch his side’s lead back to nine.

Moldova regained their prowess to score six straight points to make it a 15-point game with 2.20 to go.

Malta began to struggle while Moldova hit another three-ball to safeguard their win on Gameday Two.

Malta play Cyprus next on Thursday (tip-off: 10.30am) as they stand on two points in Group A.


I.Cucerenco 5, M. Iastremschi 10, L. Lavric 11, M. Macaru 19, I. Timbala, A. Biriucov 2, V. Cebotari, D. Meachinin, B. Mosin 2, T. Tarlev, A. Voitenco 12, M. Zara 2.


A. Azzopardi 13, I. Azzopardi 11, S. Kenely, S. Pace 4, M. Sciberras, L. Attard, M. Buttigieg de Piro, J. ellul Dowling 4, C. James 6, A. Sultana, A. Trapani 5, I. Xuereb 3.

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