Turkey makes bid to return to Euros

Turkey makes bid to return to Euros

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey makes bid to return to Euros

Turkish guard Ender Arslan reaches for a lay-up against Portugal. Turkey’s win over Portugal revived the country’s hope to qualify for the EuroBasket 2013. AA photo

Turkey is looking to complete an uncharacteristically difficult qualification process for the 2013 European Basketball Championships with a win over the Czech Republic tonight.

Turkey is third in Group F of the Eurobasket 2013 qualifiers with 11 points, trailing Italy and Czech Republic, who have 16 and 12 points respectively.

Belarus is fourth with eight points, while Portugal is bottom of the group with seven points.

Turkey needs to beat Czech Republic by at least 19 points in order to rise to the second spot to win direct qualification for the championship. Last month Turkey lost to the Czechs by 18 points in the two teams’ first meeting. Apart from the defeat to the Czechs, Turkey has also lost twice to Italy.

If Turkey beats the Czechs, then it will also win at place at the championships by being among the four best-placed third finishers. However, there is a risk that Turkey will miss out on the championships with a defeat.

Currently, Serbia, Azerbaijan, Austria, Belgium and Latvia are third-placed in their groups.

Turkey is competing with a group consisting of mainly fresh faces, with several NBA players, including Utah Jazz center Enes Kanter, Chicago Bulls center Ömer Aşık, Milwaukee Bucks forward Ersan İlyasova and captain Hidayet “Hedo” Türkoğlu of the Orlando Magic not being added to the squad.

Turkey has competed at every European championship since 1993.

Tonight’s game at the Ülker Sports Arena in Ataşehir, Istanbul starts at 7 p.m. It will be shown live on NTV Spor.