28 July, 2017
06 August
21 Amit Ebo (ISR)
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Ebo will be Israeli leader after heartbreaking last year's U18

TEL AVIV (FIBA U18 European Championship 2017, Division B) - It's still hard for Amit Ebo to talk about it. Even though it was last year, the talented point guard still struggles to find the words to discuss how Israel were relegated to this summer's FIBA U18 European Championship 2017, Division B.

"It is still very hard for me to talk about it, even now," said Ebo, who was the leading scorer on an Israeli team that won just one game at last year's U18 continental tournament - the 15th-Place Game. "Me and the others we just want to learn from it. Hopefully we will do better this summer."

Ebo and his teammates went through some major heartbreak in Samsun last December. In the first game of the tournament, Israel lost to Bosnia and Herzegovina by one point in overtime after failing to hold on to an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter. The Israelis got a three-pointer at the buzzer from Michael Brisker to even force overtime. The next day Israel lost by one point to Latvia on a three-pointer with one second left.In their third game, Israel lost in overtime to eventual finalists Lithuania after giving up a 14-point fourth-quarter lead. Then, in the Classification 13-16 Game, Israel gave up a three-pointer at the buzzer to lose to Croatia by three points, sealing their fate in Division B for this summer.

Instead of competing against the likes of France, Lithuania and Spain in Division A, Ebo and Israel will battle in Division B to get back to the top flight from 28 July-6 August in Tallinn.

"We want to go back to Division A. That is the only thing we are thinking about," said the 5ft 11in (1.80m) shooting guard, who played Division A at the U16 level but also couldn't keep Israel from being relegated in 2015.

Israel were drawn into Group C with Austria, Azerbaijan, Poland, Portugal and Romania. Only the top two teams advance to the Quarter-Finals, and only the three podium finishers will make the jump to Division A.Israel last year was back in Division A at the U18 level for the first time since 2009. The country finished fourth in Division B in 2010 and didn't make the top four again until taking second place in 2015 - only to get sent back down after just one year in Division A.

The Kefer Sava-native Ebo, who plays with Maccabi Tel Aviv and appeared in one Winner League game for the Israeli giants this season, will be the key figure for Israel to get back to the top flight this summer in Estonia. He was one of two bottom-level players on the team in Samsun who will be called upon as a leader back in Division B. The 2000-born Tomer Levinson also played on the team but averaged just 1.6 points and 1.2 rebounds in 8.1 minutes.

"We have to listen to the coach and play good defense. Those are the main things. It's a long tournament, so just take it slowly," said Ebo.

And to the question if he wants to be the leader of the team, Ebo added: "Yes, definitely."