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Vienna Like It At The Top

08 October 2013

EUROCHALLENGE

Predrag Miletic of Zepter Vienna in the game against Traiskirchen Lions
Predrag Miletic of Zepter Vienna in the game against Traiskirchen Lions

Austrian Admiral Bundesliga reigning champions BC Zepter Vienna have picked up where they left off last season and are already enjoying the view from the summit of the championship standings.

Vienna, which will compete in the EuroChallenge this year, won their first two games in the new Bundesliga season within the space of 48 hours and find themselves as the only team with a 2-0 record in the standings.

The Austrian champions, who are coached by former Khimik Yuzhne coach Darko Russo, underwent quite substantial changes to their roster during the summer but still kicked off their domestic campaign on Saturday night with a 79-64 victory over UBSC Raiffeisen Graz at home.

Graz used a second-quarter burst to take a 40-35 lead at the half-time buzzer, but Vienna restored order with an imposing display in the third quarter, in which they outscored their guests 20-9, and opened up the gap further in the fourth, to celebrate success on the opening day.

Veteran Serbian guard Predrag Miletic, one of the team's new acquisitions, paved the way for the Viennese side with a game-high 30 points on 8-for-11 shooting from two-point range.

Lithuanian Arnas Labuckas had 12 points and Austrian international Florian Trmal collected 11 points and a game-high nine points.

"A newly formed team needs more time to come together, but nevertheless the performance of the team needs to improve drastically," Vienna general manager Petar Stazic Strbac said after the game.

"The positive point is that we won today even without (the sidelined through injury Nikola) Pavlicevic and with a 15-point margin."

Less than 48 hours later, on Monday night, Vienna had to play a second fixture, again in front of their home fans.

Although their performance was far from stellar, they showed that despite the several new additions to the roster they maintain the true mark of a champion and can win even when they don't play at their best.

The champions led Arkadia Traiskirchen Lions by six points at the interval and by as many as nine points in the third quarter, but the youthful Lions came back in the fourth frame and tied the scores at 80.

Trmal and Miletic however scored crucial baskets to give Vienna a three-point cushion going into the final minute and the hosts held on for an 87-84 victory.

This time it was Trmal the one who scored 30 points, on 11-for-16 from the floor, and added 10 rebounds to complete an impressive double-double display.

Miletic finished with 16 points on 3-for-4 shooting from beyond the three-point arc while Pavlicevic returned to the line-up and contributed 15 points and four assists in his league debut.

"It was a sensational performance of the young team, we kept our own against the reigning champions until the last possession and reached so close to forcing overtime," Johannes Wiesmann of Traiskirchen said.

Vienna were drawn in EuroChallenge Regular Season Group C and will play their first game in the competition away at Swedish side Södertälje BK, on 5 November.


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