By Eurohoops team/ email@example.com
Spain and Turkey were set for a rematch of the 2019 U18 European Championship Final where the former claimed the title and the result was the same this year as well.
Rafael Villar scored 20 points, including five straight during crunch time, dished out five assists and had four steals as the Spanish national team beat the Turkish side 68 – 61 to be crowned U18 EuroBasket champion. It’s the fifth gold medal overall for Spain in the U18 European championships.
Izan Almanza contributed 14 points, 15 rebounds, three steals and two blocks to the Spanish team. He was named tournament MVP after averaging 15.7 points, 10.7 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.1 blocks, just a month after also getting MVP in the U17 World Championship where his country won silver.
Turkey won the bronze medal for the second straight tournament and fourth overall after 2004, 2005, 2015 and 2019. Ozgur Cengiz was the leading performer for the team with 12 points plus five assists.
Spain led for the entire game after the first four minutes and went up even by 14 points in the second half when Martin Iglesias made the layup for the 35 – 49 near the end of the third period. Turkey reduced its deficit to 51 – 56 with 2:43 minutes to play but didn’t manage to get any closer.
Villar drained a key 3-pointer for the 55 – 63 and then hit a pair of free throws to put Spain up 55 – 65 with 52 seconds remaining and basically secure his team’s win.