Photo: Ivana Dergez / KK Cibona

Cibona faced a loss in the 17th round of the AdmiralBet ABA League, with Budućnost securing a convincing victory with a score of 66-98. The Wolves, visibly fatigued from their previous match against Partizan, endured a defeat and now shift their focus to domestic championship obligations.

For Cibona, coached by Dino Repeša, the starting lineup included: Domagoj Vuković, Krešimir Radovčić, Aleksandar Aranitović, Tomislav Buljan, and Borna Katanović. On the other hand, Budućnost’s coach, Andrej Žakelj, opted for the following players: Vladimir Mihailović, Marvin Jones, Nikola Tanasković, Mckinley Wright, and Brandon Paul.

The beginning of the game was marked by back-and-forth plays. After a 10-10 score, Budućnost started to pull away, increasing their lead. Several defensive mistakes by Cibona players were capitalized on by Mihailović and Tanasković, each scoring six points. Despite missing all three free throws in the first quarter, the home team managed to reduce the deficit to five points.

With a 4-0 run at the start of the second quarter, Cibona narrowed the gap to just one point. However, Budućnost extended their lead with several three-pointers, leading to a double-digit advantage. This prompted coach Repeša to call a timeout. Although Cibona managed to cut the lead to six points, the guests responded with an 11-point run, ending the first half with a 46-29 score. The standout performers in the first half were Mihailović and Paul, each scoring 11 points.

Cibona attempted to make a comeback in the second half with the support of the home crowd, but every effort by the hosts was swiftly nullified by Budućnost’s new three-pointers, becoming their main weapon in this encounter. On the other hand, Cibona struggled with their shooting, allowing Budućnost to increase their lead to the largest margin of 24 points, finishing the third quarter with a score of 71-47 in favor of Budućnost.

Photo: Ivana Dergez / KK Cibona

Budućnost opened the final quarter with an impressive 12-point run, to which Cibona responded with a 13-3 run. However, Budućnost maintained a comfortable lead with more three-pointers and well-executed plays. The game concluded with a score of 66-98, with six players from Budućnost finishing the match with a double-digit number of points.

Andrej Žakelj:

“Firstly, I would like to congratulate the players. I was concerned about how we would react before the game, as we came here without training. I think we were at the required level from the beginning. There was a slight drop for a few minutes, but I believe we controlled the entire game with good defense and rebounding. When we relaxed in offense, it looked very good. I hope this will help us in the upcoming games in terms of confidence. I also wish Cibona all the best in the rest of the championship.”

Vladimir Mihailović:

“I think we should be very satisfied, first and foremost, with the approach we had from the start, especially after the loss to Aris. We showed a very good reaction after a long trip and without training. I believe we controlled the game from the beginning, and this is the right way this team should look, something we should stick to in the future.”

Dino Repeša:

First of all, I would like to express my condolences to the Milojević family; his death surprised me a lot. Regarding the game, I would congratulate Budućnost; I think they were superior from the first minute. We tried to match them until the middle of the first quarter, but there was no story in the last 25 minutes. Generally, what bothers me is the energy, which was not at the required level again. The question is whether we can do better, and I am confident that we can. Since Ivan Perasović was not available today, Katanović got about 11 minutes of play, but we shouldn’t make excuses for players who were not there. Now we turn to domestic matches. We have two tough games ahead where we need to significantly improve our work ethic.”

Cibona: Jakov Mustapić (18), Krešimir Radovčić (12), Aleksandar Aranitović (8), Tomislav Buljan (7), Ivan Majcunić (7), Domagoj Proleta (6), Domagoj Vuković (4), Matej Bošnjak (4), Borna Katanović, Filip Ferderber.

Budućnost: Vladimir Mihailović (18), Kevin Duane Ferrell Jr. (15), Brandon Paul (14), Kenan Kamenjaš (14), Yoan Makoundou (12), Nikola Tanasković (10), Aleksa Ilić (4), Fletcher Magee (4), Marvin Jones (4), McKinley Wright IV (3), Andrija Grbović.