Josep Bilinovac is relishing the challenge of trying to fill the void left by the injured Toni Prostran as he helped Croatia to a morale boosting and eye-opening 75-61 win against Russia at the U20 European Championship Men 2010.
Having played only a handful of minutes in the early games, Bilinovac played over thirty against a Russian team that many had expected to cause Croatia some problems in Makarska but the hosts bounced straight back from their defeat against Spain.
Bilinovac who claimed 12 points in the game, admitted the pressure is on to succeed but was happy to step up along with center Leon Radosevic who finished with 18 points and six rebounds.
"There was big pressure on both Radosevic and me," explained the guard.
"We really miss Prostran and I hope he will be ready to play soon. His absence was also seen in this game.
"However, I also think that myself, Dosen and also Radosevic have enough experience to help us go further in this competition.
"The desire of the whole team is to reach the finals and we will fight to get there".
Croatia always held the upper hand in the game and it was maybe a slightly disappointing performance by Russia who had looked impressive in the Preliminary Round - despite their narrow loss to France.
Pavel Antipov, Maxim Bychkov and Vladimir Ivlev all scored ten points for Russia although the latter also completed a double-double by harvesting 11 boards.