As the coach of Buducnost Voli, who arrived on the bench two days before the start of the domestic championship (after Jasmin Repesa's resignation), Petar Mijovic was aware that he was in a better position compared to anyone else in the Montenegrin Super League due to the quality and experience of the team he had at his disposal.
However, because of that role of the absolute favorite, he knew that he could gain little and lose much more if the title did not return to Podgorica after the year it had been adorning the showcases of Mornar. The circumstances didn’t go his way to help Buducnost easily reach the goal.
The Super League started two days after the end of the crunching series of the final playoff in the ABA league against “Red Star”, where the players from Podgorica were left without the trophies they planned to defend. With emotionally exhausted players and after the departure of five foreigners (Cole, Earl and Coty Clarke, Williams, Bitadze), without the injured Nikola Ivanovic and Aleksa Ilic, Mijovic with several juniors were on their way to justify the role of the favorite, and make a mosaic of the team to make a real game, and all this without the opportunity for real training, as they played every other day.
Immediately at the start, he was left without Petar Popovic (injury in the 1st round), Nemanja Gordic missed several matches, Filip Barovic suffered a severe injury in the third match. However, in the end, Buducnost came to the desired title and Mijovic to the first senior trophy on the Buducnost bench.
"That was, of course, a tremendous challenge for me, though I did have a bit of coaching experience behind me. For 16 years, I worked in France, Pristina, Iran, and Mornar on different levels. However, this was my most complex endeavor, but I did not think that I had anything to be scared of. There are so many coaches in this area who would like to work in an organization such as KK Buducnost, with the level of players you can only get and grow as a coach. Therefore, there was no fear, I had the desire and intention to do the best I could, to use all the resources I had at that moment, and we had, without a doubt, the best team in Montenegro," says Mijovic, who came on the bench of Buducnost only a few days after the birth of his second son.
As he says, he "deeply believed in the boys, but also himself and his work."
"Through all these years, I have the ambition to work at a high level, to always do my best, and, simply, I acted to be ready to take up the opportunity like this, and I'm glad we met the goal. Perhaps, it could have been done easier, but I think it could be worse, which was shown by some seasons behind us. With all the problems we had, one should not forget that we could not count on Ilic and Ivanovic. There was a lot of things which were not in our favor, and it is always difficult to do things that imply that you have to do them right, and if you do not, it is the end of the world. In a situation that was not easy psychologically, with the help of the responsible and devoted boys, we did the job correctly. And to emphasize, we did not defend but win the title that was lost last season," continues Mijovic.
The young 37-year-old coach points out that all the previous seasons, sometimes harder, sometimes easier, Buducnost won almost all the trophies, except the Montenegrin Cup in 2013.
13 wins in 17 matches put Buducnost in the Super League led by Petar Mijovic - eight in the league, two in the play-off semi-finals against Lovcen and three in the final against Mornar. Buducnost experienced three defeats by Mornar and one by Sutjeska.
"Losing the Cup that year, this title last season, I think it has become clear how valuable all these trophies are and how important it is for the season to end with a Cup," says Mijovic.
"In addition to all the problems and the specific situation, the moment of advancing to the Super League, where we did not have time to refresh and reset, literally 48 hours after the fifth game against Red Star, I think two days after the third match against Mornar, and with a cool head, I can say the players, despite some defeats, seriously responded to a difficult task. They had found the strength in the toughest and most critical moments, and it was not easy for them, because, with the preparation period, the match against Mornar was the 91st game in the season. If we add FIBA and representatives in the various selections, which were 6-7, I think we are close to 100. This did not help us, did not allow us the necessary freshness to make it easier to finish the final series. And all that is happening in the region; it does not always make it easy for better teams. Olimpija lost their final in Slovenia to 3:0, Cedevita, who played the semi-final series of the ABA against us in the same squad, lost the final to Cibona with 4:0. It is much more demanding than it looks like at first glance," Mijovic pointed out.
Mijovic then explained in more detail why this season was specific for Buducnost.
"Buducnost played in the European league after 17-18 years, the selection of the team to defend the title in the ABA league, a very stressful season, with a lot of ups and downs that culminated in the final series of the ABA League against Red Star. After all that, the timing of the team's takeover was very specific and demanding, primarily due to the state of mind, mental and physical, where these guys were at. In addition, because of the limitation of the number of foreigners, we entered the Super League with five players less, which was a completely different team compared to the one who competed before, with new roles, a new hierarchy inside the team. Zoran Nikolic returned after a few months, all this was accompanied by the injury of Nemanja Gordic's shoulder, then Petar Popovic's injury after the first quarter of the first game in the Super League against Lovcen, so there were a lot of things that were not going in our favor," says Mijovic.
"The most important thing is that we've done a lot of things in the regular part of the Super League," he said. "Well balanced, in the last round, when we got the first place, we decided to put Jaskcon and Barovic on a break because we played every two days, and we did not have freshness at that moment".
In the semi-finals of the play-off, Buducnost eliminated the excellent team Lovcen after two difficult matches, and then came the final series against Mornar.
"The first two games we played extremely good, the first one was easy to win in "Moraca", and then we confirmed it in Bar, maybe with the best game in the Super League with this lineup. Then came the third match, for which they probably thought it was all over, and then came a cold shower, nausea, through the unpleasant defeat, which took us to some other extreme, to the situation in Bar where we wanted to ask for the chance to return the title, in which we did not succeed. Then the fifth match brought its own new tension, a certain amount of nervousness, and the desire was high in each of the guys who ran on the court. But in those situations, it is often the pressure, which has slowed us down, led to a situation that was not good, especially in the first half, in which we wasted a lot of good shots that could easily be realized in some other circumstances. After the start of the second half, there was a shock, injury of Barovic, you saw it. So, there were quite a few things that did not work for us, and then one remarkable downturn in the last minute and 47-48 seconds, where we literally were at 11 points difference after the three points by Jackson, but we had to get the match in the last seconds," Buducnost’s coach said.
The club is to decide whether he would remain the coach of the first team
Prior to taking over the first team, Mijovic led the younger categories of the club from Podgorica since last year. This is his second-year contract in Buducnost; he has two more, and, as he says, he still does not know how he will continue his engagement in the club.
"I am absolutely connected to Buducnost, and the club will decide which direction will be taken further, from which positions I will continue to work. I must point out that with the President of the Club (Dragan Bokan) and the Sports Director (Gavrilo Pajovic), I have very good cooperation, it is all that a coach can only wish for. We will see what the next days will bring," he concluded. He led the team of French Roan where he worked with Luka Pavicevic and independently led Zeta, Baskimi and Sigal, and before Buducnost he had the last engagement at the Student’s Center, the branch of Buducnost.
Text by Sasa Joncic, on June 1st, 2019, read more at Vijesti