The Belgian Lions had one goal at the European Basketball Championship and that was to reach the 1/8th finals in Berlin. Before that, after the victories against home country Georgia and world champion Spain, Bulgaria had to be won.
That was easier said than done, because Bulgaria has a topper in the team with Aleksandar Vezenkov. After a nervous first quarter, Obasohan gave the Belgians the lead with a buzzer beater.
That score gave the Belgian Lions, supported by the Georgian fans, courage and thanks to a sharp defense and the accuracy of Obasohan and Lecomte, a bonus of 11 points was on the scoreboard at half time.
But after the break, the Bulgarians suddenly fired with ammunition. The Belgian reaction was not forthcoming and suddenly the reassuring lead was completely gone. Fortunately, Lecomte (20 points in total) and top scorer Obasohan (25 points) found the rhythm in time.
In the exciting last quarter, national coach Dario Gjergja took a daring gamble: he chose the experience (Tabu, De Zeeuw and Gillet) over the youth (Lecomte and Bako), but that gamble paid off.
Tabu pulled off with great assists and scores and was precise from the free throw line. The Belgian Lions did not succumb to the pressure, to the great frustration of the Bulgarian star player Vezenkov. A safe bonus was successfully held: 80-89 was the final score.
Belgium survives the group stage of the European Basketball Championship with three victories. The Lions are doing just as well as they were in 2015.
The Lions have closed their group as number 4 and will face defending champion Slovenia in the 1/8th finals on Saturday.
Vedette Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks) scored 47 points against France today, the second highest individual score in a European Championship.
The record is held by a Belgian: Eddy Terrace made 63 at the European Championship in 1957.
Punten België: Obasohan 25, Lecomte 20, De Zeeuw 13, Tabu 9, Gillet 8, Bako 6, Mwema 3, Tumba 3, Vanwijn 2.