Malta faces Armenia in the final of the FIBA Small Countries Games on Sunday (tip-off: 18.30).
Both sides have been unbeaten so far in the tournament with Malta beating Azerbaijan and Andorra in the group phase, getting another win against the Azeris in the semi-final.
Armenia on the other hand, had Gibraltar and San Marino to beat in their group. They made the final game with a win over Andorra, who took bronze in the earlier game on Sunday against Azerbaijan.
For Malta, sharpshooting forward Aaron Falzon returns to the roster after suffering an early injury during the warm up to the first game on Tuesday.
MALTA STARTING FIVE: N. Xuereb, D. Bugeja, Tevin Falzon, N. Kahler, S. Deguara
ARMENIA: C. Jones, A. Mkrtychyan, A. Spight, A. Tatevosyan, Z. Tativian
First-quarter update: Malta 19-15 Armenia
Malta leads the game by four points after the first quarter, the highlight being a 10-0 run by Malta to open the game.
Threes by Armenia’s Chris Jones have been the trouble for Malta so far, while Nelson Kahler was the most dangerous performer for Malta.
Half-time update: Malta 30-39 Armenia
Armenia lead the FIBA Small Countries Games final at half-time. It was an intense opening half, with tension at an all-time high between players on the court.
Armenia’s Jones and Andre Spight combined for 29 points as the leading scorers in the game so far. Following them is Malta’s Nelson Kahler with 13 points in a physical first 20 minutes of play.
Good news for Malta as Aaron Falzon scored his first basket since Game One against Azerbaijan, once again a shot from three-point range.
Third Quarter update: Malta 48-62 Armenia
Armenia continue to elevate in form, relying on Jones for scoring, now having scored half of the team’s points across three quarters.
Malta continued to look for openings throughout the quarter, with Samuel Deguara ready for the post-shot, while another triple by Nathan Xuereb raised the numerous supporters’ hopes.
Full-Time update: Malta 68-84 Armenia
The game ends in a win for Armenia after a powerful display for Jones, the star player living up to his EuroLeague calibre with 41 points, going eight from 11 from three-point range.
Malta on the other hand, kept fighting until the final seconds but it was not meant to be as Armenia lift the cup. Malta take silver ad Andorra take bronze this year.
ALL-STAR FIVE: Chris jones (Armenia), Orhan Haciyeva (Azerbaijan), Andre Spight (Armenia), Guillem Colom (Andorra), Sam Deguara (Malta)
MVP: Chris Jones (Armenia)
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