Photo: Crvena Zvezda

At an almost packed “Aleksandar Nikolić” Sports Hall, Crvena Zvezda beat Budućnost Voli (67-60) in the fifth and last game of the ABA League’s Finals.

For the fifth time in club history, Crvena Zvezda won the title in the regional league and defended the crown from 2019.

Last year, the championship was canceled due to COVID-19 and no one won the title but this year, the Finals put Zvezda on top of the ABA League.

The path to the trophy wasn’t easy because in the first two games Crvena Zvezda won at home, but in the next two Budućnost took victories in Podgorica. So, the last, fifth game was the key one and the home team had the sixth player in the “Aleksandar Nikolić” Sports Hall. After a long time, the Serbian capital was able to see a lot of people at some sports event.

This game was unusual in another way, too. The unwritten rule says the best player in the most important game should be much better than usual. And in this match that wasn’t the case. Jordan Loyd from Crvena Zvezda couldn’t reach the basket in the first 20 minutes of the game and when he started making shots he got an eye injury. Loyd got back in the game and helped his team in the key moments of the match even though he wasn’t that impressive like in the few minutes before the injury.

Crvena Zvezda had the first half by five points. After the break, they managed to control the game’s flow and were ahead throughout the third and fourth quarters. However, they never really managed to create themselves a decisive advantage, all until the final minute. Jordan Loyd scored a three-pointer with 28 seconds remaining on the game-clock to put his team up by 8 points (66:58) and that’s when the battle for the triumph was over.

The man of the match was excellent Landry Nnoko, who dominated the court and led his team to the win with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Loyd added 15, while Ognjen Dobrić finished the match with 12.

On the other side, Justin Cobbs was the only double-digits scorer with 21 points, while three players had 8 points each – Zoran Nikolić, Nikola Ivanović and Luka Mitrović.

With this win, Crvena Zvezda didn’t just get the trophy but also remained in the EuroLeague for the next season.