Top 50 Moments of 2017: No. 37 – Third time’s a charm for Turkey

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Wheelchair basketball team finally capture elusive Euros title

Turkey and Great Britain are all too familiar with each other in wheelchair basketball.

Too many times, the two European powerhouses have clashed in major competitions, with the British men getting the better end of the results. Tired of the defeats, Turkey finally turned the table around at the 2017 Tenerife European Wheelchair Basketball Championships in June, and their victory over their British rivals marks No. 37 on the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) Top 50 Moments of 2017.

The two met in the finals of the last two European Championships. And their last major meeting before this year’s Europeans was at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games that featured an epic double-overtime thriller for bronze.

For Turkey, the loss left a sour taste in their mouths.

But their losing streak to Great Britain was finally broken this year when Turkey won regional gold in a game that came down to the final minutes.

It was also a game that saw Turkey’s star player and captain Ozgur Gurbulak step up just when they needed him.

Turkey held a nine-point lead going into the last quarter, with the taste of gold so close. In an exhilarating final 10 minutes, Great Britain made an outstanding comeback, bringing the game back to just one point.

With under two minutes left, hot-shooter Gurbulak hit a huge 3-pointer to bring Turkey up 70-64, before Great Britain again responded to cut the deficit to three points.

But with 45 seconds left, Gurbulak hit another three-point dagger to put the game out of reach.

He finished the game with 25 points, and the tournament as the team’s leading scorer with 200 points.

The countdown of the IPC’s Top 50 Moments continues until 31 December.

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