A First Time For Everything As Cibona Recover From 0-2 Deficit

14 June 2010

The champagne is still flowing in Zagreb after Cibona's 16th Croatian league championship.

After losing the first two games of the A1 Liga finals, Cibona were in danger of finishing the season empty-handed and that would have been a bitter blow considering their last-second overtime defeat to Partizan Belgrade in the Adriatic League final.

Dusan Kecman hit a shot from beyond half-court right before the buzzer to win that game for Partizan, 75-74.

But in Croatia, Cibona hit back to win three straight times in the finals against KK Zadar, including a 95-73 Game 5 decider.

Cibona became the first team to recover from an 0-2 finals series deficit to win the championship.

Bojan Bogdanovic scored 21 points and Marko Tomas added 18 for Cibona.

"This is confirmation of everything good that we did this season," said Cibona coach Velimir Perasovic.

"I am happy about this title in which the 0-2 was hard to believe.

"I can say I'm happier than this past season when we had more trophies, but we played better basketball and we did so with some young players."

Zadar got off to a dream start and held a 21-14 advantage after Trent Plaisted's dunk late in the first quarter.

Cibona replied with 15 unanswered points - as part of a 25-4 spurt that made it 39-24.

Leon Radosevic and Vedran Vukusic had six points each in the run.

With that, the hosts regained the lead and stayed in front the rest of the way.

The visitors did not panic and thanks to Hrvoje Peric and Miro Bilan, they cut the deficit and trailed 51-43 at the break.

Zadar closed the gap to 53-49 on a Rok Stipcevic three-pointer early in the second half, but Cibona got tough on defense and limited the visitors to just four points the rest of the third quarter to claim a 73-53 stranglehold on proceedings.

They cruised in the fourth quarter to a big win.

For Zadar, Peric finished with 17 points and Stipcevic poured in 16 while handing out six assists and grabbing four boards.

Radosevic tallied 17 points for Cibona and Jamont Gordon walked off the court with 12 points, seven assists and four steals.

Perasovic says he isn't certain if he'll be in charge for next season.

Dire straits financially led to some very difficult moments.

"If the situation is normalized in the club, if the conditions for setting up the team, I could stay," he said.

"The way we worked this year, it is impossible. This happens once in a hundred years, that the players are unpaid and continue to work."




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