By Bernard Vassallo
The Malta men senior team was in Ireland in the past days to compete in the FIBA European Championship for Small Countries 2021 which were held in Dublin.
Malta started their commitments with a sound win over San Marino.
Malta – San Marino 96-65 (31-14, 21-28, 33-16, 11-7)
Another convincing win followed, on the next day, against Gibraltar.
Malta – Gibraltar 89-63 (29-17, 14-17, 24-15, 22-14)
Following a 2-day break (one day being the official rest day and the other due to the 5-day round robin format utilised in this competition), Malta faced Andorra. Despite a good start, Malta had to bow down to Andorra’s strong reaction.
Malta – Andorra 74-93 (25-19, 13-25, 15-25, 21-24)
On the final game day, Malta faced the hosts and tournament favourites Ireland. The Malta team, even shorn of two starting five elements due to a team suspension, fought hard but had to succumb to Ireland’s play.
Malta – Ireland 66-97 (17-23, 15-28, 22-22, 12-24)
This meant that Malta had to settle for the third place in the final standings, earning Malta the bronze medal similar to what happened in 2010 and 2012. Malta’s best ever placings in these championships were the gold medal in 2018 and the silver medal in 2014.