Romania and Russia, the first ever 3×3 basketball European Champions

Romania’s men and Russia’s women were crowned inaugural 3×3 basketball European champions as both sides recorded victories over Slovenia in the finals at University Square in Bucharest.

In the men’s competition, the hosts delighted the more than 1,000 fans in attendance by squeezing past their determined opponents 19-16 in the decider.

Both sides traded baskets throughout, but as the clocked ticked down Bogdan Popescu stepped up to be the local hero as he landed a crucial basket to give Romania a decisive lead which they managed to hold on to.

Beaten semi-finalists Greece and Lithuania squared-up in the bronze medal match.

It was the Greeks who looked like they were just doing enough throughout, but a late rally by the World Championship semi-finalists, led by star man Ovidijus Varanauskas, helped Lithuania secure a 21-18 victory.

Meanwhile, Russia went one better than their runners-up spot at the World Championships in Moscow back in June by overcoming Slovenia 16-13 in the women’s final.

Slovenia could not match the intensity of the Russians and while there was not much in it at the end, Russia were the most impressive side throughout the tournament in Bucharest, with Maria Cherepanova their main threat.

Belgium got the better of their neighbours The Netherlands in the bronze medal contest, coming away with a 16-10 victory.

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