Cibona recorded its first away win in Belgrade against FMP since 2004, which is an exceptionally interesting and rare occurrence. The game started off quite evenly, but as time passed, Cibona improved and built a lead that reached +12 at certain moments. However, a lack of energy, compounded by the absence of Aranitović, allowed the home team to fully come back into the game towards the end. Despite their efforts, FMP couldn’t surpass Cibona, and thus, Cibona secured its sixth victory in the regional AdmiralBet ABA League.

Due to the absence of Aleksandar Aranitović, 16-year-old Borna Katanović received the opportunity to start in the first five for Cibona in the regional league for the first time. Alongside him, Dino Repeša sent out Krešimir Radovčić, Ivan Perasović, Tomislav Buljan and Matej Bošnjak. On the other side, FMP’s coach opted for the lineup of Demetre Roberts, Vojislav Stojanović, Nate Watson, Nikola Šaranović and Aleksa Stepanović.

The game started quite evenly, with FMP taking the lead through Stojanović, and Radovčić responding with a three-pointer. In the first six minutes of the first quarter, the score changed from possession to possession, but FMP managed to go up by two possessions with a score of 16-12 three minutes before the end. Cibona then had a spree with four three-pointers from Mustapić (two), Majcunić, and Vuković, turning the game around and establishing a significant lead of +8 (16-24). By the end of the quarter, FMP, led by Subotić, managed to reduce the deficit to six points (18-24).

Cibona struggled at the beginning of the second quarter, allowing FMP to narrow the gap to 23-25. However, Cibona woke up and began to build its lead, reaching +12 with a 0-8 run (23-35). The hosts tried to reduce the deficit for the rest of the first half, but Cibona held its ground, and the teams went into halftime with a score of 36-44.

The third quarter was balanced in the first few minutes, but Cibona extended its lead to +10 (41-51) with a 0-5 run and maintained a double-digit advantage for most of the quarter. In the last two minutes of the third quarter, FMP, led by Rebec and Stojanović, narrowed the gap to a manageable -6 (52-58). Vuković then made a two-point shot on the other side, and with Rebec’s free throws in the last play, the score was set at 53-60 before the final quarter.

In the last quarter, Cibona quickly gained a new double-digit lead of +10 with a three-pointer from Proleta along with a foul (55-65), and then Radovčić extended it to +12. Subsequently, FMP had a better period, with Šaranović and Watson bringing the game back to just -6 (61-67). Cibona struggled to score, and Šaranović, Foster and Stojanović managed to tie the game (70-71). Dino Repeša called for a timeout, settled his team, and Cibona managed to finish the game without too much stress, securing a 72-77 victory.

“As for the game itself, we had problems with Aranitović’s injury before the match, and you all know how important he is for our team. However, a month ago I came to the club, and I say then that faith is what motivates us every day. These guys believe, regardless of the situation. The indicator is 21 rebounds more; we are not the most athletic or tallest team, and having 21 more rebounds than FMP in Belgrade is not a small thing.

When it comes to the game, I think we played really good basketball for 30 minutes. Unfortunately, the consequence of physical fatigue is a shorter rotation, some rushed shots, and the host came back into the game. In the end, just as we awkwardly and unfortunately lost the last home game against Borac, today we maturely finished the game against a very good opponent. I’m glad we gave a chance to young Borna Katanović, who trains with us every day, and that should be the guiding principle for Cibona in the future,” said Dino Repeša, coach of KK Cibona after the game.

Cibona now turns its attention to domestic league obligations. On Monday, January 8th, Zabok visits Dražen Petrović Basketball Hall, followed by an away game against Bosco at the end of the week. In terms of the regional AdmiralBet ABA League, Cibona will host Belgrade’s Partizan on Monday, January 15th, as part of the 16th round!