EUROBASKET WOMEN QUALIFIERS
|Milica Dabovic says that she is a different type of player to her sister Ana - just don't ask them to play against each other|
By Igor Petrinovic
Ana and Milica Dabovic of Serbia enter the Eurobasket Women Qualification Round Group B game in Fribourg against Switzerland on Saturday as their team's top scorers.
Even more interestingly, these two often-smiling sisters find themselves this summer in a situation they had never experienced before, but one they long awaited - Milica and Ana are playing together on the same team for the first time on professional level.
"It is a phenomenal feeling to play with my sister on the same team," says 22-year old Ana, Serbia's top scorer in the Qualification Round with 15.8 points per game.
"In the game against Montenegro I was getting goose bumps and I had a smile on my face whenever Milica was scoring."
Ana's older sister scored 22 points in that crucial victory for Serbia on 30 June.
"My sister gave me her full support in that game, she told me I'm playing for her," confirmed Milica, who feels this is one of the greatest things that have happened to her during her long and successful professional career.
"It is a dream come true, as I was always saying that my big wish is to play for Serbia together with Ana," Milica says.
"It is not a lie when they say that if you want something hard enough, it will come true.
"She means so much to me, I know she knows me, understands me, supports me, we think alike and it is hard to describe this wonderful feeling."
IT'S IN THE GENES
The Dabovic sisters are natives of Herceg Novi, a coastal town in Montenegro and come from a basketball family.
Their father, Milan, is a famous coach and their older sister Jelica and brother Milan are both former professional basketball players.
How come Ana and Milica never previously played together before this summer?
The age difference between the two, seven years, has been an obstacle.
|''If I'm not playing, she is, so there is no end to my happiness,' Ana says of the experience of playing on the same team with her sister |
"We did play together on the same team once, about 10 years ago. Our dad was our coach," recalls Ana.
"Milica played, I was there too and helping out. But I was 10 years old at the time.
"We had different careers; the clubs we played for usually were not in the same country.
"Milica left to go abroad five years before I did. Then, when I left to play abroad, she came back to Serbia," Ana says of the circumstances.
TEAM SPORT, FAMILY ATTITUDE
Both say there is no bragging or teasing around the house even though all four of the siblings played at the same position.
For Milica, who plays for Serbian champions Partizan Galenika, there are clear distinctions: "We are all point guards but we all have different qualities," she says.
"I am fast, my older sister was a shooter, Ana is smart.
"We all play a different type of basketball, have different qualities that stand out and it's hard to say which one of us is really better than the other."
Even if we tried to figure out the old-fashioned way which one of the sisters has the upper hand, it would't work.
"We never even play one-on-one. We avoid doing that," Milica laughs.
"There has never been a rivalry between us, never," Ana confirms.
"I mean, my goal has always been to be as good as I can, and I guess that does mean being better than her. And she wants to be the best, too.
"But I keep saying, with us being on the same team, if she is not playing, I am.
"If I'm not playing, she is, so there is no end to my happiness.
"We are family, we cheer for each other. Especially since basketball is a team sport."
Depending on what happens in the game between Poland and Montenegro on Saturday, it could be enough for Serbia to win their three remaining games in the Qualification Round to go through.
The Dabovic sisters are optimistic: "We are one step away from reaching the Eurobasket Women. If we beat Poland, we are there."