TRAVNIK (2016 FIBA U17 World Championship) – Egypt gained some valuable experience in the build-up to the 2016 FIBA U17 World Championship by nearly knocking off Bosnia and Herzegovina in a warm-up tournament which was won by the U16 European champion Bosnians.
But hopes for the tournament from 23 June-3 July in Zaragoza are higher for Branislav Jemc’s Egyptians buoyed by the big man tandem of Ahmed Khalaf and Esam Tamer.
(Egypt) are improving, but the final word is in Spain. The experience is big for sure. I think every game we gain knowledge and confidence. - Abdelmotaleb
Egypt showed at a warm-up tournament in Travnik, Bosnia and Herzegovina that those hopes could be legitimate, giving the hosts all they could handle in a 62-61 heart-breaking loss.
Lazar Mutic scored a layup with one second left as the Europeans survived a major setback in their own build-up to Zaragoza. Egypt had built a 14-point lead with three minutes left in the third quarter before watching Bosnia star Dzanan Musa lead a comeback with 26 points, six rebounds and three assists.
Egypt, who were led by 23 points, 18 rebounds and four blocks from Khalaf, were ahead 61-60 with 1:29 minutes left but twice turned the ball over in the final 50 seconds, giving Bosnia the chance to win. The tight game came just four days after Egypt lost 80-40 to Bosnia in the team’s first warm-up game.
“They are improving, but the final word is in Spain. The experience is big for sure. I think every game we gain knowledge and confidence,” said Egyptian Basketball Federation vice president Mohamed Abdelmotaleb.
Egypt’s first game in the warm-up tournament was an 88-60 victory over local team Travnik with Khalaf picking up 22 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks while Tamer had 13 points, 14 rebounds and three assists and Tarek Raafat scored 26 points to go with five steals.
Egypt built a 10-point lead in the first quarter but Turkey rolled in the second half to a 74-58 victory. Khalaf was again Egypt’s main man with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Turkey finished third in the tournament as Eray Akyuz scored 15 points while Ahmet Duran had 12 points and 11 rebounds against Egypt.
“This is not a bad result for just five days of work. Step by step we will get better and better. (Against Egypt) we were concentrated and played good defence. We have to do more on both sides of the ball,” said Turkey coach Fatih Elbas, whose team forced 32 Egyptian turnovers.
The Turks lost their opening game in Travnik 67-66 to Montenegro’s U18 team on a layup at the buzzer by Ognjen Carapic. Yigitican Saybir scored 22 points to lead the Turks, who also beat participating club Zagrebacka Zupanija 87-80 thanks to 17 points from Enis Sipahi.
In addition to the win over Egypt, Bosnia also knocked off Travnik 90-54 as Semin Burko (13 points, 11 rebounds), Aljosa Jankovic (14/10) and Stefan Radosavljevic (11/10) all had double-doubles.
Bosnia won the tournament by racing past Montenegro’s U18 team 102-82 in the final thanks to 40 points and five assists from Musa, 18 points from Sani Campara and 16 points from Srdan Kocic.