Congratulations go out from BallinEurope to VEF Riga and the Belgrade select team for taking their respective U18 and U21 brackets in the Rinus de Jong Invitational tournament recently held in the Netherlands. The squad known as “BF Belgrade” ultimately went 4-0 over three days of play, outlasting Canarias Basketball Academy in an 81-80 victory for the gold medal.
In a game tournament officials are calling “very scorching,” consisting of “forty tremendous minutes of pure basketball,” tourney MVP Luka Maksimovic tallied the two clutchest shots of the Rinus de Jong final. Maksimovic tied the game at 74-74 with 0:01 remaining on the clock in the fourth quarter to send the teams to OT, and drove the lane for a layup to score the game’s final points.
Placing third was U.S.-based Wilbraham & Monson Academy prep, while hometown Eiffel Towers den Bosch finished fourth.
In the U18 final, undefeated VEF Riga took on Canarias, whom they’d destroyed in game two of pool play, 80-58. This “attractive match” stayed close until the fourth quarter, when Riga finally managed to pull away after threes from Davis Geks and Kristaps Gluditis; the Bulgarian side ultimately won by a final score of 77-66. Gluditis was good for 20 points, and Netherlands players Shane Hammink and Floris Versteeg were top scorers for Canarias, with 18 and 16 points, respectively.
For third place, IBA Tel Aviv went off on Atletas Kaunas, winning 106-79 for the bronze.
Top scorer of the tournament was Boris Bojanovsky of CBA’s U21 side; the best defensive player went to Janis Berzins of VEF Riga; and Riga’s Ivars Rihards Zvigurs was named the “most talented player.”