The golden period of Budućnost began on March 3, 1996, when it overpowered Partizan in the unforgettable Yugoslavia Cup final in Nikšić with an incredible 126:155, a match in which they scored 20 three-pointers. It lasted until 2001, when the club from Njegoš Park won the only double crown in the former state.
Since those years, when the show-case was filled with three cups for champion and cup winner of Yugoslavia, our largest club had to settle for domination only in Montenegro since independence. It tried to reach the ABA League finals for years, stopping four times on the last hurdle, and now it has finally reached duels for the regional competition title, the most important trophy in the club history.
Their opponent will the triple consecutive champion, Crvena Zvezda, whose member in the domination seasons was a player from the golden generation of Budućnost at the millennial crossing, Dejan Radonjić. The Podgorica team showed this season they can play well against the red and white team, as they are the only regional team, along with EuroLeague clubs CSKA, Fenerbahce, Panathinaikos, Baskonia, Himki and Brose Baskets, who defeated twice the team coached by Dušan Alimpijević.
The grand finale is set for Monday at 19h and the second game is on Tuesday at 18:30h.
“We’ve made it to the finals and earned it. This is a great success for the club, for all of us, for the town. We celebrated the victory over Cedevita, but began preparing right away for the finals, as we know what we’re up against. It will be tough against Zvezda, as they are an exceptionally strong opponent, a team created to play the EuroLeague at a high level. It will definitely not be easy,” said Nemanja Gordić.
The top playmaker and star of Budućnost of the season has experience from such strenuous series, as the five final matches might be played in only seven days.
“I played such series once, with matches on consecutive days, and I can say it is not easy. I don’t know what level of basketball quality can be expected with four matches sin five days. It’s hard to even get some rest, let alone be well prepared… But Zvezda is facing the same, they must be tired from playing in Moscow. We will fight. We are all motivated to play in front of a full arena, we know what to expect.”
Tactical surprises among the two rivals who know each other quite well are practically impossible.
“We’ve played Zvezda before, there are no secrets there. We will certainly strive to adapt to the specific game style of the Belgraders, but we will also strive to set our own,” concluded gordić.
The hero of the semi-finals against Cedevita, Petar Popović, says Budućnost has no reason to fear the finals.
“We are facing an exceptional opponent and a series of matches in consecutive days. We may be in for five matches in seven days. Zvezda is excellent, they earned their 11 wins in the EuroLeague. Reaching the finals took off a large load which we carried for years. This is a great plus in our confidence. We are not afraid of Zvezda, we can’t wait for the final series to being,” said the 21-year-old from Cetinje.
“Against quality players the concentration and focus need to be at the highest level. Each player, whether he’s a star or not, must have his qualities and flaws known. We believe we will be ready for any challenge,” concluded Popović.
Translated from Vijesti Online, click here for the original.