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Watch: Malta finish eighth in FIBA U-18 European Championships after Gibraltar overtime victory

Malta's Luke Attard (left) drives past his marker against Gibraltar. Photo: FIBA

Late basket saves the day



(17-13, 15-18, 10-7,17-21, 9-8 OT)

Malta finished eighth in this year’s FIBA Under-18 European Championship in Azerbaijan when they edged past Gibraltar in their final game on Sunday.

It was a game that showed no clear winner at any point of the game and could have gone past the first overtime period were it not for a late lead-changing basket.

Connor James led Malta’s scoring with 22 points while grabbing eight boards. Adam Azzopardi followed with 19 points and 12 rebounds for a double-double finish. Matthew Sciberras rounded the double-digit scoring with 11 points and 11 rebounds for another double-double. 

Jack Tunbridge led Gibraltar’s scoring with 17 points. Louis Dalmedo followed with a double-double of 16 points and 13 rebounds, while Matvey Celecia scored 12 points and grabbed a whopping 24 boards.

This was arguably Malta’s best performance of the tournament but the two sides looked balanced. Malta took the first bucket and the teams advanced neck and neck before Duncan Fenech’s clan went on a 5-0 run to open the first gap. This remained to give Malta the first quarter. 

The second rubber was similar but Gibraltar began to push and managed to reduce the gap to just a point by the halftime break.

After the change of ends, another close quarter was in store but the Malta boys continued to hold firm and keep their lead intact in spite of their low shooting accuracy, a lingering problem throughout the tournament, until the fourth quarter.

The final 10 minutes of regular time however, were Gibraltar’s relief as they put up 21 points to Malta’s 17 and equalise just in time to send the game to overtime.

Overtime was do-or-die but Gibraltar looked motivated after their comeback and took the lead. As close as ever, Malta were a point away with 25 seconds to go, and when Gibraltar missed a couple of freeshots and Xuereb rose to make a layup, retake the lead and save the day for Malta at the death.


C. James 22, M. Sciberras 11, A. Sultana 3, A. Trapani 4, I. Xuereb 6, L. Attard, A. Azzopardi 19, I. Azzopardi, M. Buttigieg de Piro, J. Ellul Dowling 3, S. Kenely, S. Pace.


J. Cassaglia 4, M. Celecia 12, L. Dalmedo 16, P. Postigo 6, J. Tunbridge 17, J. Bingham 2, D. Cassaglia, D. Connor, S. Linares, Q. McGlashan 1, N. Perez, N. Vaughan 9.

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