Vladovic Expects Hard Road To Final Four


KK Zagreb have been a big hit in the EuroCup this season and Jakov Vladovic is a huge reason why.

The point guard leads the team in scoring at 14.6 points per game, and he tops the Zagreb charts in assists (7.0) and steals (1.3).

The 24 year-old playmaker has been even better in the Adriatic League, where he owns the second best

Ante Tomic (KK Zagreb)
Youngster Ante Tomic has been a big reason for KK Zagreb's success.
index rating in the competition and is the third leading scorer overall at 18.3 points per contest.

Born in Zadar, where he played until the start of the 2007-08 season, Vladovic has already won several big trophies, including the Adriatic League (2003), Croatian championship (2005) and four Croatian (Kresmir Cosic's) Cups (2003, 2005, 2006, 2007).

He spoke to Luka Maselj on behalf of FIBA Europe after helping his team qualify for the EuroCup Quarter-Final Round.

FIBA Europe: Jakov, you had to beat Olympia Larissa to reach the Quarter-Final Round. How did you see the crucial last game of the group stage when you beat the Greek team 63-58?

Vladovic: "It was anything but easy. Olympia are a typical Greek side - very strong in every aspect of the game. We didn't play bad and had the game in control most of the time. Olympia tried to come back into the game after trailing by 10 points and more in the third quarter, but luckily for us, we were calm enough in the end."

FIBA Europe: You only had four points to go with eight assists. How did you assess your performance in that important win?

Vladovic: "When your team wins, your personal statistics don't mean much. Surely I was not satisfied, because I was far away from the displays I had in the previous games, but you can't always play well. Everybody has his ups and downs. This was my bad day, but I am very happy that we won anyway."

FIBA Europe: Your next opponents will be the Latvian team, Barons. What do you know about them?

Vladovic: "To tell the truth: not much. There is still a lot of time until the first game. At the moment, other competitions are more important to us. But surely Barons can't be a bad team, otherwise they wouldn't have made it to the quarter-finals."

FIBA Europe: Have Zagreb's ambitions risen by reaching this stage of the competition? Could you see your team going all the way to the title?

When we started our European season, our goal was to make it out of the Group Stage. Now that we are in the quarter-finals, our aim is to reach the semi-finals.
Jakov Vladovic
KK Zagreb

Vladovic: "When we started our European season, our goal was to make it out of the Group Stage. Now that we are in the quarter-finals, our aim is to reach the semi-finals. But it's far away from being an easy task, especially because we finished second in Group C and will have to play the first game away. This means we will have to win away at least once to go through. It will be tough, but we have already shown that we are capable of winning away games."

FIBA Europe: Zagreb is not doing as well in the Adriatic League. Why has this been the case?

Vladovic: "That's true. We lost a lot of games in the final minutes and our position in the table shows that. I hope that for the rest of the season we will start playing better in the NLB (Adriatic) league too and add some victories."

FIBA Europe: You originally come from Zadar and the team from your city, your former team in fact, is doing much better then Zagreb in the Adriatic League. How does that make you feel?

Vladovic: "It's nice to see them perform well. They are second, only behind Partizan, whom they recently managed to beat. I wish them luck for the remainder of the NLB League and the ULEB Cup."

FIBA Europe: Based on the results of your former team, do you have any regrets about leaving and joining Zagreb before the start of this season?

Vladovic: "I can say I'm happy with my decision. I'm having a very good season here, the club is very well organised and everybody is very kind to me here. I still have big ambitions with Zagreb CO in the domestic League and (Kresimir Cosic's) Cup, where we can expect a great struggle for both trophies. The Final Four of the (Kresimir Cosic's) Cup will be held on February 9-10. Our first opponent will be Zadar and it will be a tough game, since they are in great form. But in front of our fans, anything can happen. We always believe in victory until there is a chance for achieving it."

FIBA Europe: You have already mentioned that you are having a very good individual season. Are you maybe planning of showing your skills abroad next season?

Vladovic: "I haven't thought about that at all. At the moment, I am focused on Zagreb CO only. Everything will come when the time is right. If I am healthy, I'm sure I'll have a lot more to show to Croatia and the world."

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