The first match of the semi-final series of the ABA League play-off in Zagreb is the mirror of the current course of the basketball season for Buducnost Voli, first under the leadership of Aleksandar Dzikic, and then Jasmin Repes. Without a for the guests in the Euroleague (there are still two chances, against Barcelona and Panathinaikos), the team from Podgorica also lost all important matches in the regional league this season - from Red Star, Partizan and twice to Cedevita, the second time on Monday night (90:83). It's unnecessary to talk about the defeat to Cibona and, in particular, against Krka at home.
Buducnost outside of "Moraca" is a completely different team. Without a win away, Jasmin Repes's players simply can not defend the trophy in the ABA league. Therefore, they cannot play in the Euroleague.
And the match against Cedevita in Zagreb, especially in the second half, does not offer too much reason for optimism, although it is clear that Buducnost has the quality and experience to solve the semi-final series against Cedevita in their benefit.
"As we have already guessed, the game in Zagreb was difficult, and all the matches with Cedevita this season were uncertain until the end. We started the match well, we played well in the first half, but we couldn’t continue the whole match. We allowed too many rebounds, the defeat was not at the great level in the second half, we missed important shots," says the center of Buducnost Goga Bitadze, who scored eight points in the first match against Cedevita, four rebounds and two blocks.
Buducnost has no right to a mistake, a win is imperative on Sunday in Moraca, to attain the final match in Zagreb. Everything else would be just a catastrophe.
"We have to show the reaction of the team in Moraca, to win in front of the home fans. We saw where we made mistakes, we analyzed, and I'm sure we will be ready for the second game. Of course, we believe in victory and going further; we knew from the beginning that we had to win at least one match away."
The problem, which is not a small one, is the preparation of the second match against Cedevita. While the team from Zagreb will be able to "make a plan" for the duel in Podgorica, Bitadze and his comrades will have to play the penultimate match in the Euroleague in Barcelona on Thursday.
"The match with Barcelona comes at a bad time, but it's not something new, we knew we had it coming for sure. If we win the third match against Cedevita, we will have a match in Athens (Panathinaikos), but that is the price of playing in the Euroleague. Cedevita has more time to prepare, but we already know each other enough and, as I said, I believe that on Sunday we will be ready to transfer the series to Zagreb," the Georgian center concluded.
Jasmin Repesa said that "nothing surprised him in Cedevita's game".
"We also counted on what was not the case in the previous games, that they could play with two tall players. It did not make a difference compared to when Kuk played, or Ramljak or Muric. There was confusion in terms of the attacking and defense, if we are talking about some individual characteristics that are clear and well known," Repes said.
It was known that the greatest danger was Kobs (23 points) and Pulen (20), but they were elusive to Buducnost’s defense.
"It is clear that Cedevita’s game begins with them, but in their game, no matter how good they are and creative, their tall players is something much better than their individual quality." Cedevita has tall players with a lot of understanding of the the game, they have experience, have gone through all the schools. Regardless that Stipanovic is not a player who will strike a shot from the outside or who will hugely hit free throws, but he has the recognition of the game and passes the ball better than some outside players.
Our problem was in the first-line breaks, where Cedevita had a lot of passes under the hoop, where they had the final throw or went on a rebound in the attack and scored easy points. Even when the defense was in good shape," Repes said.
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Text by Sasa Joncic, on March 27th 2019, read more at Vijesti