12 - 20
August 2023
34 Artur Konontsuk (EST)
to read

OPQT's: Party for sell out crowd in Estonia as co-hosts join Israel in Semi-Finals

GLIWICE/ TALLINN (Poland / Estonia) - Co-hosts Estonia are celebrating making the Semi-Finals with a tense and thrilling victory over Israel, who also join them in the last four despite the loss.

Here's your wrap of how the FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament played out on the last day of Group Phase action in the Estonian capital.

Estonia defy predictions to take dramatic win against Israel

What a day it was for Estonian basketball at a sold-out Tondiraba Ice Hall as Jukka Toijala’s national team did what was needed to take victory against Israel.

The co-hosts produced a 12-point comeback in the third quarter to go ahead in the decisive clash. Kaspar Treier, who ended the game with 16 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists, sealed the 67-65 thrilling victory with a clutch play in the closing stages.

Despite Roman Sorkin’s solo performance under the basket and Bar Timor’s deep three-pointer to reduce to one-point margin with just over a minute remaining, Israel were not able to get didn’t get the win. However, they still advanced to the Semi-Finals of the competition as Group A winners. That means everybody’s happy in Tallinn, except for the Czech Republic who only just missed out in a three-way tie with Estonia and Israel.

Czech Republic beat winless North Macedonia but exit early

After first beating Estonia and then losing against Israel, the Czech Republic couldn’t book its ticket for the Semi-Finals, despite rolling past North Macedonia 94-82.  Vit Krejci led once again Diego Ocampo’s team with a complete performance of 16 points, 8 assists and 5 boards, followed by Vojtech Hruban and Tomas Kyzlink’s 18 points each.

While the Czech Republic ran away in the last portion of the game, TJ Shorts managed to put North Macedonia ahead in the second quarter with some fancy layups. He ended the campaign with 'castaway vibes' - alone on the island for the red-and-yellow national team. He had 27 points, and 5 assists while shooting 10 of 15 from the field in a bitter-sweet ending for him.

Top Performers

Vit Krejci was the true protagonist of the Czech Republic’s win in Day 1 against Estonia and he performed great once again to get the 94-82 victory against North Macedonia. He finished with 16 points, 8 assists and 5 rebounds. 

TJ Shorts tried his best until the very end against the Czech Republic, tying with Vit Krejci for the highest performance efficiency valuation of the day at 25. He displayed MVP caliber plays such as a spin-move into a clutch fadeaway shot.

Roman Sorkin went close to a double-double with 18 points and 9 rebounds but it wasn't enough for the Israeli center to inspire his team to the win.

Kaspar Treier turned into Estonia’s clutch hero. He scored 12 of his 16 points behind the three-point line and ended with a performance efficiency valuation of 23.

Bar Timor gave his all as captain of Israel to try and bring his teammates on top against Estonia. But it was not to be - despite his 15-point effort in defeat.

Photo of the Day

Just look at what it means. To play for your national team on home soil, to come out on top in a huge and dramatic must-win game and to keep your Olympic dream alive. 

Highlight of the Day

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The future is here? Czech Republic star Vit Krejci was on fire against North Macedonia, performing a performance efficiency valuation of 25 and leading his national team to the win. It's a pity for the fans that he won't be playing any more games in the competition.