The top four teams – USA, Serbia, Australia and Spain – squared off in semi-finals of FIBA U17 World Championship in Dubai.
USA – Serbia
This time it was harder. It could have been even worse. But Serbian players just could breath after all. With a pull of players limited to only 7 guys to play against 12 USA players is just impossible to succeed. Not even if you play like Stefan Peno (a delicatessen of a player) or Stojanovic, a strong small forward. It is simply not enough against Newman, Swanigan or Stone. USA players do not need any play-book. All they need is their strength and speed. That’s all. That’s the only difference between NBA players and FIBA players: body and muscles. Because every time there was a rebound, you could see up to 3 American guys jumping all around the basket, while Serbs could barely catch their breath. And everything worked during the first half, but no way during another 20 minutes of intense game. In the end, the score was 89-68 but it did not reflect how hard the winner had to play to win this match, arriving to a well-deserved Final.
Australia – Spain
They never gave up. Aussies never did; Spanish did. After leading the score the whole game, with a 22-point margin, Spain was unable to close the game properly, and Australians bite the neck and kill their prey, even before the overtime was played. There was nothing to do. Not if you lose the ball two consecutive times after out-of-bounds with 40 seconds remaining. Humphreis came back to live in the second half to lead his team with 13 points, and then scored another 9 in the decisive overtime. The Spanish players could nothing but cry; after all, they are only 17 years old. The final score was 80-74.
The Final will be played tomorrow between USA and Australia, a re-match of the final played 2 years ago. Before that, Serbia and Spain will play for a sour bronze medal.