Estonia have qualified for the 2015 Eurobasket, before this year’s version has even begun, as they prevailed 61-49 over Bulgaria in Tallinn on Sunday night, winning the two-leg series 116-107.
Trailing 58-55 from the first leg, the hosts quickly gained full control, racing out to a 25-10 lead after the first quarter of play. From there, Estonia were firmly in command with the scoring well spread out.
Rain Veidemann and Gert Dorbek each led the scoring with 10 points for Estonia as nine different players got on the scoresheet.
Estonia coach Tilt Sokk was a man of very few words afterwards, a man that was just happy to have a place in the Ukraine sealed. He was determined to enjoy this moment.
“A big thanks to our players and staff. The players have worked hard for this and now it paid off. We will go to Ukraine in two years,” he said.
Once Estonia sored into the 15-point first quarter lead, the game was as good as over. Bulgaria were stunned and they couldn’t recover at all.
Kaloyan Ivanov led all scorers for the visitors with 13 points but no one else threatened the Estonians.
“Congratulations to Estonia for qualifying,” Bulgaria coach Konstantin Papazov said.
“The crowd was unbelievable. It was a very good game from them and they used maximum power. At first we had a shock and afterwards it was hard to recover. We are not happy, but we had some good moments during this stage.”
Photo courtesy of FIBA Europe