More drama in Group D, Russia, Israel and Slovenia only unbeaten teams left
SOFIA (FIBA U16 European Championship Division B 2016) - Group D continues to be one of the most entertaining of the whole summer. Slovak Republic and Czech Republic survived once again.
Juraj Palenik hit a clutch three-pointer to give Slovak Republic a 79-75 win over Bulgaria. That was their third win in four games, and it could have come easier as they had enjoyed a 23-point lead earlier in the match. Bulgaria clawed all the way back to 73-73 in the final minute, but Dominik Kubala hit a jumper and Palenik sealed the deal.
Those two players were unstoppable. Kubala collected 30 points on 7-of-14 from long range, Palenik went for 18 points on four-of-eight from three. Martin Danielic was in charge of ball distribution, handing out eight assists to go with his 14 points and six rebounds. Bulgaria had six players in double digits, but lost all chances of reaching the Quarter-Finals.
Czech Republic followed their neighbours' lead. The Czechs held off Georgia 72-70 and climbed to 3-1, even though their biggest win of the championship was by three points. Vit Krejci kept his calm in the final minutes and finished with 10 points and six assists. Tomas Mikyska had 12 points and nine rebounds.
Belgium joined the Czechs and Slovaks at 3-1 with a 64-55 win over Iceland. Noel Coleman scored 17 points, Vrenz Bleijenbergh had 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Niels De Ridder gathered 15 points and 12 rebounds for the leading team of Group D.
Russia remained the only unbeaten team in Group A. Aleksandr Sinebabnov had 11 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in a 76-51 win over Belarus, who have dropped to 3-1. The Netherlands are also at 3-1 following a 69-53 triumph over Denmark, and their final group phase match-up with Belarus will be a fight for second spot in Group A and a ticket to the Quarter-Finals. Portugal defeated Luxembourg 78-47.
Israel secured first place in Group B with a huge 23-7 final quarter that gave them a 62-54 win over Hungary. Eidan Alber claimed a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds. England stayed in second place following their 61-36 success against Scotland. The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia kept their hopes of reaching the Quarter-Finals with a 71-59 win over Ireland. A win against England could see them through.
Slovenia are in charge of Group C that saw almost identical scores in all three games. Jure Licen had 20 points, while Nik Dragan finished with 10 points and 21 rebounds in a 70-56 win over Austria. Ukraine beat Kosovo 70-56, and Romania handed Norway a 68-54 loss. Slovenia have won the group, Ukraine and Romania play for the second Quarter-Final ticket.